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North Shore Alliance Church to present Easter drama

By Staff | Mar 22, 2016

This weekend, the North Shore Alliance Church will bring the real meaning of Easter to life.

The church will present its fourth-annual Passion Experience on Friday and Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the church, on the Boardwalk in the back property of the church.

It is the only such outdoor drama in the area, where visitors can come free of charge to walk the grounds and experience scenes that include the miracles, the Last Supper, betrayal, the cross, trial and the resurrection.

Pastor Tim Richter started performing the Passion Experience in Tallahassee 15 years ago and at his previous church in Port St. Lucie.

When he saw the nine acres of woods the church has, he thought it was would be perfect place to do the show again, which he has done for the past four years, making changes to it as it has gotten bigger.

“We try to add a few things to it every year to keep it fresh and more exciting. More people are coming out as the word gets out,” Richter said, adding that more than 500 people attended last year. “We think we can get more people, with Easter coming early and some of the snowbirds still here.”

Visitors will be broken into groups and will leave every 10 minutes, led by a tour guide dressed as a shepherd, through seven stations to see the life, death and resurrection of Jesus come to life.

It was once a total walkthrough, but last year an amphitheater was added for the Last Supper and arrest scenes, which are the longest.

This year another seating area was added at the end when Christ rises.

Torrey Mitchell, one of five people who will portray Jesus in the first two scenes, the Beatitudes and the miracles, has performed the role for three years.

“It’s a blast. You get to practice it, be with all these people and have a great time and represent what Easter is all about,” Mitchell said. “It gets easier, but it takes practice.”

John Manning, Rev. Jeff Mayer, Dan Hetrick and Jessie Beougher are the other four portraying the Son of God.

On Sunday, the nearly 70 participants held a dress rehearsal to get their parts down. One of the Jesuses had to work and couldn’t make it, so Richter had to sit in.

Other such abnormalities, such as characters wearing glasses, were permitted for the rehearsal, but won’t be used in the show. One of the shepherds got brain freeze and forget her lines, but soldiered on.

Once the weekend comes, all the characters will be ready to put on their best show yet, Richter said.

“People really wish they could see what it was like when Jesus was around. It’s a portrayal of him and the miracles he did,” Richter said. “You don’t get to see stuff like that, so it perks people’s interest.”

North Shore Alliance Church is at 330 W. Mariana Ave., in North Fort Myers For additional information about the church or the Easter drama, go to www.northshorealliancechurch.org