Michael Sheen plays Jesus in hometown Passion play

By Rob Sharp
Sunday 23 October 2011 02:48

While most of the nation relaxed, and some of the populace ate their own body weight in chocolate at the Easter weekend, Michael Sheen endured incarceration in a police cell, slept rough up a mountain, and was crucified, then resurrected in front of hundreds of onlookers.

The actor, best known for his on-screen portrayals of Brian Clough, David Frost and Tony Blair, played the lead role in The Passion, a three-day reinterpretation of the Biblical Passion story, which was staged around the south Wales seaside town of Port Talbot.

Sheen has to take some responsibility for his discomfit given that he also directed the play.

"Port Talbot has never seen anything like this," said Sheen's father, Meyrick, one of the cast drawn from the Port Talbot community.

Sheen's nightmare weekend began at 5.30am on Friday, when he was "baptised" (half-drowned) in icy waves at the local beach. He spent Friday evening sleeping rough in a mountain overlooking the town, staying in character throughout.

On Saturday, he had a last supper sandwich buffet at Port Talbot's Seaside Social and Labour Club, where while watching the Manic Street Preachers perform he was "arrested" and spent the night in a police cell.

Yesterday, the play's final day, he wore a crown of barbed wire and was "crucified" near a roundabout on the seafront. The hirsute, bedraggled protagonist was then brought back to life, and proclaimed his need of a shower.

Sheen was born in Newport in 1969 but brought up in Port Talbot.

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