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Sunday, 21 May, 2000, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Reworked version of passion play opens

Villagers from Oberammergau in the German state of Bavaria have taken to the stage for a reworked version of their traditional passion play dramatising the last days of Jesus Christ.

The six-hour drama has been mounted every ten years since 1634 - with the occasional extra performance in between.

The new staging has removed passages that in the past offended Jewish groups with their depiction of Jews as Christ-killers -- an anti-Semitic slant which helped make the play a favourite of the Nazi regime.

For the first time, Turkish Muslims will also join the nearly two-thousand-strong, all-local cast. A series of performances is expected to attract up to half-a-million visitors to the region over the summer.

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