Music and Performing Arts, College of
Theatre and Dance, Department of
BURS Faculty Advisor
Dr. James Al-Shamma
Many people would agree that crucifixion would be a horrible thing to watch and would be an even worse thing to experience. Despite this, it appears repeatedly in theatre and movies, sometimes in graphic detail. I will examine how crucifixion (specifically that of Jesus Christ) has been portrayed in theatre and film since the Middle Ages. This topic can help to illuminate the tolerance to violence on stage for some given time periods; or serve to show religious exceptions to that tolerance. Early English Passion plays included most, if not all, of Christ’s crucifixion. Throughout the years, though, more detailed crucifixions would illicit backlash from Protestant crowds, almost without exception. During any time period, a more detailed crucifixion typically resulted in greater controversy.
Gilleran, Matthew, "Depictions of Jesus's Crucifixion in Passion Plays Throughout the Ages" (2023). Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS). 202.