Welcome to the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in America.
We are comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds united by the common thread
of Anthroposophy as founded by Rudolf Steiner. (Read more…)

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The Oberufer Shepherds Play

Once again the Santa Cruz Monterey Branch is sponsoring our local thespians in their production of the classic Oberufer Shepherd’s play.  It will be performed live at the Louden Nelson Community Center on Saturday, December 19th, at 6PM.

An admission will be requested, $12 for adults and $8 for children and seniors.




About the play (and this production):

The history of the Oberufer Shepherds Play goes something like this: in medieval times a play was performed on Oberufer, an island in the Austrian Danube. Characters were played by members of the community who kept the same roles from year to year.

Karl Julius Schröer published this play along with others in 1858 in Deutsche Weihnachtspiele aus Ungarn (German Christmas Plays from Hungary).

Sometime later his student Rudolf Steiner edited this play and set the language in the regional dialect, retaining much folk humor and liveliness.

Around 1940 A. C. Harwood translated the plays into English, a challenge, given the obscure Austrian dialect. The nearest American equivalent would be like translating Brer Rabbit into German. How do you do this? Harwood chose a kind of Shakespearean/Biblical language, which is of course nothing like a true folk dialect. But it was a good solution to a difficult problem, and has become much beloved over the years.

Steiner worked with an anthroposophical musician named Leopold van der Pals for the music we use here. There are also other scores, but we like the van der Pals music and it’s the one that’s familiar in America.