Irish mythology offers us a tale of a pagan hero named Oisín who left his companions, the warriors of the Fianna, and followed a fairy woman named Niamh to her home in Tír Na nÓg, the land of eternal youth. After three hundred years, Oisín returned to Ireland and found that a man named Saint Patrick had arrived and brought along a faith called Christianity that changed everything.
The story of the relationship between Oisín and Patrick is inspired by Lady Augusta Gregory’s story from her 1904 book, Gods and Fighting Men. Lady Gregory, the famous folklorist of the Celtic Revival drew her inspiration from the tales found in Acallam na Senórach/Tales of the Elders of Ireland, which is a compilation of four different medieval Irish texts.
This story is written by Marisa Goudy and performed by Kevin Michael Murphy. This retelling dares to soften the ending, focusing on the friendship that might have existed despite Oisín and Patrick’s religious differences and the way we still celebrate Ireland pre-Christian heritage rather than the usual bitter lament about the end of the magical Celtic world.
Kevin Michael Murphy is an actor and voice teacher based in New York City. As an actor Kevin has toured with the Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon. As a teacher, Kevin is the cofounder of the NYC Vocal Studio, and is currently on the voice faculty at NYU Steinhardt. Kevin's unique way of working with singers focuses on playfully exploring connections between the mind, the body, and the cultivation of one's artistic point of view. Kevin works with a variety of humans, some sing on Broadway in shows such as Wicked and Chicago, and others sing in karaoke bars and showers across America.
And, of course, Kevin's confirmation name is Patrick.
Marisa and Kevin first met at Camp GLP (Yay, Good Life Project!) and instantly bonded over Irish music, theater, and the power of song. In this conversation they explore:
- The phrase from the Irish language, fite fuaite, which means interwoven and connected
- The enduring yet ephemeral nature of theater: e cannot hold onto a performance, but we can hold onto to a story
- The time magic of story: what it means to tell a story about a 1500 year old friendship for future listener
- Reflection on how time changes the nature of friendship and the shifts in relationships through the pandemic years
- The concept of the “Anam Cara,” and Irish phrase meaning “soul friend” which was brought to public consciousness with philosopher poet John O’Donoghue’s book of the same name
- Reflection on being Irish American Catholic kids and how that faith is part of our lineage rather than our lived lives
- Kevin’s several times great aunt Eileen Huban was starred on Broadway in Irish productions, most famously in David Belasco’s Dark Rosaleen in 1919
Music on the show is by the wonderful Beth Sweeney and Billy Hardy, a Celtic Fiddle and multi-instrumental Duo based on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The traditional Irish reel we play at the start of the show is called The College Groves. Find out about their music and shows at: billyandbeth.com
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