The Voyage of Saint Brendan is Cynthia Bourgeault’s adaptation of the 9th century Navigatio Sancti Brendani, translated from the Latin by John J. O’Meara. This sixth century Irish saint’s epic voyage to discover “the Land Promised to the Saints” is both a legendary wisdom voyage story and—by some accounts—a true description of an early Irish landfall on the coast of North America.
Drawing on her extensive background as a medieval dramatist, Cynthia develops the play as a modern liturgical drama, in the mode of Benjamin Brittren’s celebrated Noye’s Fludde, complete with music and choreography. In her hands it becomes a spiritual and psychological reflection on the classic spiritual paradox that “you yourself are the veil that hides the paradise you seek.” The play lends itself both to reflective group reading for wisdom students and also to actual staged readings and performance. Its maiden voyage as a theater piece was at the All Saints Anglican parish on Salt Spring Island, BC Canada in June 1996; there have been periodic performances since.
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