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Vera (first left) and Barry (first right) with Spanish, German and British residents who take part in El Paso. SUR
British couple mark 15 years performing in famous Malaga province Passion Play
Easter

British couple mark 15 years performing in famous Malaga province Passion Play

Barry and Vera Hislop have lived in Riogordo for 19 years and saw getting involved in 'El Paso' as the ideal way of meeting the locals

Jennie Rhodes

Riogordo

Friday, 22 March 2024, 14:47

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Anyone heading to Riogordo in the Axarquía on Good Friday (29 March) and Saturday 30 March to watch its historic Passion Play, or 'El Paso' as it is called in Spanish, should look out for Vera and Barry Hislop, who have been taking part in it for 15 years.

The outdoor performance reenacts the story of Jesus Christ up until his death and resurrection and is performed by around 500 local residents every year.

The three-hour play depicts 17 scenes from the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ, including Jesus' meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well, the sermon on the mount, the choosing of the twelve apostles, the curing of a blind man, the last supper, the trial before Pontius Pilate, the carrying of the cross and the crucifixion.

The first El Paso de Riogordo took place in 1951 and since then it has won awards both nationally and internationally. In recent years a number of foreign residents have participated in the performance.

The Hislops have lived in Riogordo for 19 years and have participated every year since 2009, except for 2020 when it didn't go ahead due to the pandemic.

Beard

They have always played the roles of 'villagers', although Vera revealed to SUR in English that Barry did stand in one year as Abraham when the actor had to pull out "at the last minute".

Barry, 69, always starts to grow a beard in January so that it is long enough by Easter. "He grows it specifically for El Paso and then shaves it off after the last performance because it's too hot in summer," explained Vera.

Vera, 68, recalled that having watched El Paso the first year that they lived in the village, the couple thought it would be a good way to integrate into village life and meet some of the other local residents. She said that they both enjoy "feeling like part of the spectacle and history" of the Passion Play and they appreciate the "time and effort" that goes into putting on the performance.

The couple, who are originally from Newcastle, are also involved in other aspects of village life and Barry always helps out with cooking the 'migas' (traditional dish of fried breadcrumbs cooked in garlic and olive oil) on Andalucía Day. Vera was "the only Brit" to attend Sevillanas dance classes in the village for a while, although she regrets that she had to give them up due to health reasons.

Olives

The couple also harvest olives from their olive trees which go to the village's Agro-Olivarera oil cooperative to produce extra virgin olive oil. According to the organisers, the "open-air theatre and relaxed atmosphere of El Paso means the audience can bring along a picnic and refreshments to have before the performance".

It starts at 4.30pm at the El Paso outdoor theatre and tickets can be purchased on the box office on the day, or beforehand on the internet: www.mientrada.net/evento/el-paso-de-riogordo.

They are also on sale at Librería Pasatiempos in Torre del Mar. Tickets cost 10 euros for adults, seven euros for children (aged 6 to 10) and over 60s and seven euros for groups of 25 people or more (the guide goes free). For further information visit: Facebook: El Paso de Riogordo.

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