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Light at night and an unexpected amount of blessings

We do not know about the previous text that were performed in the early 1875, but given that at that time a version of the text by Friar Anton de Sant Jeroni was represented. It must be therefore assumed that this was the work represented throughout the nineteenth century.

Friar Anton´s text was published at the end of the eighteenth century and was performed in Esparreguera, with some modifications, until 1952.

The Holy Passion and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ of Friar Anton of Saint Jeroni was published at the end of the eighteenth century, and has been the subject of many editions and modifications over the years. It consisted in seven acts and numerous scenes, highlighting the conversion of the Samaritan, the conversion of Mary of Magdala, the entry into Jerusalem, the farewell of Jesus and Mary, The Holy Supper, the betrayal of Judas, the denial of Peter, Judas suicide, flogging, death sentence, crucifixion and lowering, resurrection and appearance to Mary of Magdalene. The text had a poetic style, with heptasyllable verses with five-syllable verses. Literally, the text relied heavily on evangelical language, except in those paragraphs that did not have an equivalent in the New Testament as is the case of the prologue, the conversion of Mary Magdalene or the centurion, where Friar Anton developed more literary creativity. These were, in fact, the most captivating scenes that reached the public.

Since 1944, Ramon Torruella gradually reformed the text, removing and adding verses, polishing the vocabulary and even replacing some passages and adding new ones.

In 1944, the archaic language of Friar Anton´s work was considered out dated, far from the reality of the time, and less versatile for the contemporary artistic and dramatic demands. La Passió d’Esparreguera Council commissioned the  poet from Esparreguera Ramon Torruella to review the original work. Ramon Torruella gradually remade the text, removing and adding verses, polishing the vocabulary and even replacing some passages and adding new ones. Scenes such as the conversion of Mary  Magdalene, the dispute of Jesus with the Pharisees, the expulsion of the accursed or the Hallelujah of the Apostles would have a new adaptation in 1945. In 1947, Torruella introduced the passage of the blind man. In 1948 he redirected the conversion of the Samaritan to a more literary language, and wrote Jesus comforting the women of Jerusalem. In 1950, he also rewrote the farewell of Jesus and Mary, altered fragments of the parables of Peter, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, and changed the sermon on the mountain, among others. In the middle of the 20th century, La Passió d’Esparreguera had seven acts divided into fifty-seven paintings, with a text that mixed the work of Friar Anton and all the modifications and creations of Ramon Torruella.

The text of Monsignor Marçal Martínez, released in 1952, was a radical change as he introduced new scenes and left behind all previous traditions.

Despite all efforts, La Passió d’Esparreguera considered that the outcome was not up to the standards of modern plays, which was the main objective of the organization. In 1951 it was decided to rewrite a whole new text. Thus, the Altarpiece of the life, Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by the poet and play writer Monsignor Marçal Martínez i Balaguer, poet, play writer and rector of Martorell, began to be performed in 1952 it noted a radical change in the structure since. New paragraphs were introduced while others were obsoleted from the previous text. In a style much more literary than the one of  Friar Anton, the Altarpiece was structured in eight acts, divided into forty-nine scenes, maintaining however the two acts the morning act which consisted in (depicting the public life of Jesus) and the afternoon act (Where the Passion, death and resurrection were represented). The only connection with the previous tradition was the poetic form of the text, where the main verses where the heptasyllable, alternated with those of nine and ten syllables, some free verses, as well as their close connection with the gospel language.

In the late 1950´s. La Passió d’ Esparreguera took another step forward commissioning a new text by Ramon Torruella, which was released on February 21st, 1960.

A few years later, despite the lack of literary value according to the new text, the lack of dramatic power in the Altarpiece led La Passió d’ Esparreguera to take a new step forward, and at the end of the 1950´s, Ramon Torruella was commissioned with a new and unpublished text. Completed in 1959, Torruella´s text was premiered at the Theatre “L’Ateneu” on February 21st, 1960 although the author himself continued to add modifications and updates until his death in 1968. Torruella, a great connoisseur of the work of Friar Anton and of the Scriptures, made a script of classic structure, highly poetic but also with a dramatic impact, turning La Passió d’ Esparreguera into an epic and spectacular drama. Obviously, as the tradition noted, the text was also poetic, but in this case the main verses were hendecasyllabic, the rest being octosyllabic, although in some scenes the decasyllabic prevailed.

Torruella creates a masterpiece of classic structure, with a poetic quality but also with a dramatic and technical power which overruled the previous ones. Making La Passió d’ Esparreguera  one of the most epic and spectacular dramas.

Currently, La Passió d’ Esparreguera is represented by the text of Ramon Torruella and the music of Josep Borràs. It is structures in four main acts. Two in the morning (the public life of Jesus) and two in the afternoon (The Passion, death and resurrection) with a total of thirty six scenes, sixty different characters and hundreds of actors on stage.

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