The Port Arthur News
During Easter, it is a fine line between ritual and dramatic form.
With the upcoming productions of the Passion of Christ ceremonies at local churches, actors are asked to find both an interpretation of the character of Jesus Christ and also stick to the script.
“With so many people’s eyes on you, it makes you want to inspire them just like Jesus did,” said Rene Gutierrez, who will play the part of Jesus in front of a crowd of 2,000 on Friday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Port Arthur.
The actor spoke to the News about the role and where he found the emotions to perform Jesus in the last days of his life.
“I really have to stay focused, try to be patient and not get distracted,” said Gutierrez. “I really have to have my goals set.”
Gutierrez said he studied the Mel Gibson film “The Passion of The Christ” in order understand the emotions for the part, paying close attention the facial expressions and the physical movements of the actor, Jim Caviezel, who plays Jesus in the Hollywood version of the story.
Also, he said, the role required much self-reflection.
“We tend to get so distracted with school and work, and by the time this comes around we kind of forget the emotion behind the story,” said Gutierrez, who will be playing the role for the second time. “It is a reminder of how intense the story really is.”
“The Stations of the Cross” tells the story of Easter, without the bunnies or eggs.
It is a theatrical reenactment of the final days of Jesus Christ on Earth, including the last supper, the trial, the crucifixion and Christ’s triumphant resurrection.
The Our Lady of Guadalupe production has experienced its own resurrection recently, after sparse participation in the past year, according to the production’s organizer, Magdalena Medina.
What pushed the project into motion this year was Medina’s appointment of Gutierrez for the part of Jesus, she said.
“He was the right person,” said Medina. “He is handsome, noble, and he has the proper respect for the part.”
It also helped that he had a beard.
Gutierrez’s family has been involved in Our Lady of Guadalupe passion play’s for many years, according to Medina. His father even played the role of Jesus four years ago.
The production is a great unifier for the community, according to Medina, because it brings families together and people of all ages participate.
“It is really the community that brings us forward,” said Medina.
The roles include costumed Roman soldiers, weeping women, Mary, Peter, Paul, and many other significant Israelites of the first century AD.
“Stations of the Cross,” will be performed at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church located at 3648 Staff Sergeant Lucian Adams Drive in Port Arthur.