In a little town in Bavaria last week, one of the biggest casting jobs of the 1960 season was under way. Most of the hopeful male actors were already wearing their makeup—full beards. Every candidate knew what was expected of him because the play was a revival: the 34th run since 1634 of the enactment of Christ's Passion at Oberammergau.

When the 24 members of the play committee met last week in the theater to pick the principals, hundreds of Oberammergau's 4,600 people were gathered around a big blackboard outside, where the results...

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