Michael Sheen reveals why The Passion will remain the most significant experience of his life

An interview with Michael Sheen and his father Meyrick Sheen, looking back on the effect the play The Passion of Port Talbot had on the town and its community.

“Only about 200 people could actually be inside the Seaside Social Club where our version of The Last Supper was taking place, where Paul Potts sang and Iwan Rheon and the Manics played and we ended with a huge line dance.

Then we came outside to do our version of Gethsemane, and I was arrested and put on the back of a flatbed truck in the car park in among the crowd, and there were thousands of people watching. I think people were beginning to realise they weren’t watching a play; they were actually involved in something that was about them and that was giving them a voice to talk about the things they most cared about.

And there I am, on the back of this truck, with the Head of the Secret Police trying to get me to admit I’m the leader of the town, so he can imprison me and kill me. And he’s saying to the crowd ‘Do you think this guy’s the leader of town?’

And they were going mental, thousands of people. I remember looking out at the crowd and seeing these faces so full of passion, believing they were supporting me by saying, ‘Yes, yes, he’s the leader of the town,’ whereas in fact they were signing my death warrant.

That was the moment I realised this wasn’t a play any more. They were playing their part without realising it. The boundary between fiction and reality was totally blurred, which is what I’d always hoped for. It was a devastating moment.”

Wales Online – Michael Sheen reveals why The Passion will remain the most significant experience of his life (07-01-2012)