HIGHLANDS – The Heart of the Passion, a dramatic reading of events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ, will be presented at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Navesink Ave., Friday, March 23, at 7 p.m.

   Presented by RUTH STAGE Productions, a semi-professional company of actors and dramatic readers, the program includes eight actors, portraying Biblical persons from the era; dialogue is the result of intensive research for accuracy and Biblical principles and is written by cast members themselves.

     Reminiscent of the Stations of the Cross, a Christian prayer service which highlights 14 events during the final hours in Christ’s life, The Heart of the Passion explores the thoughts, feelings and convictions of persons involved, either as active participants, onlookers, or friends of Christ. It explores Peter’s reactions to his own denial of his friend, and Christ’s mother’s personal thoughts as she sees Him up to and including the time of His death.

    RUTH STAGE Productions is headed by its founder, Robert Lamb, and performs both off-Broadway and in local theaters. Lamb directs this production which also features professional actors Linda Turash and Fred Wintraub, together with locally renowned veteran actress Fran Raleigh. New in this production are Ray Santiago and John Constantine, whose coach is Lamb.  Actors range in age from teens to their 80s and come from a variety of walks of life; besides acting, some of the stars are life coaches, teachers, lawyers and retired social workers.

    Professionals take on the exhaustive task of dramatic readings and presentations, Lamb said, because “acting is really in the blood. When it is done right, it is one of the best feelings in the world.”

   This will be the only time the Heart of the Passion will be presented in the Bayshore and only the second time it has been presented in Monmouth County. It received wide acclaim earlier this month when it was staged at St. Rose of Lima Church, Freehold.   

    “I am happy to be able to offer this presentation not only to our own parishioners but to all residents of the Bayshore,” said the Rev. Fernando Lopez, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help/St. Agnes parish. “It is a startling and emotional presentation of a key belief in our religion and the unique way in which it is presented is both provocative and extremely well-done.”

     RUTH STAGE Productions will be back in Freehold in May with a comedy, Lone Star, and in the fall with |Godspell, a musical. It will be appearing in New York City in August, presenting Richard III directed by Tony nominated actor and director Austin Pendleton, and in early 2019, will be back in Freehold with the courtroom drama, Night of January 16th by Ayn Rand.

    There is no fee for the March 23 production, and no reservations are necessary.