Feb 23 noon-1pm EST
“‘The Fleetinge Fludd’: Ecological Thinking in a Contemporary Performance of Two Medieval Noah Pageants”
Phoenix Gonzalez is a Master of Arts in Religion student at Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music. In her work, she combines medieval drama and climate activism, staging medieval texts today to explore how they can forge community and help us question our assumptions, beliefs, and practices, both about religion and our environmental crisis. She received her BA in Religion at Princeton, where she first caught the medieval “bug.” Prior to her work at Yale, she lived in New York, where she performed in various new musicals and plays.
The Noah story was well known in late medieval English iconography, appearing frequently in striking stained glass windows and elaborate, emotional illuminations in personal Bibles, Books of Hours, and manuals for sermons such as the Holkham Bible. It was also one of the few Hebrew Bible stories to be found across the English mystery plays, those plays that added contemporary issues to stories in the Bible and then staged them for their communities each summer on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The importance of the Noah story in the medieval biblical narrative and its cosmic proportions beg the question, what sort of ecology did this pageant put forth for its medieval audiences? What image of nature would an audience have walked away with? This essay explores how two medieval plays performed at Yale Divinity School’s Marquand Chapel were staged to redefine the ecology of human relationships and their material surroundings, thereby reinterpreting what it means to interact with the wildness of God, each other, and the natural world. What can we learn from this reinterpretation today?