The Ecstacy of St. Teresa

Written By: Robert Johannson

Synopsis: Tells the story of St. Teresa of Avila and the establishment of the order of the discalced Carmelites, a contemplative order, at the time of the Spanish Inquisition, and St. John of the Cross.

It has musical accompaniments to excerpts from the Song of Songs, and The Dark Night of the Soul.

Scene Summary

Scene One: St. John and St. Teresa

When St. John visited St. Theresa for the last time in 1581 she was ill, but preparing to go to Burgos to found another monastery.  She had been given instructions by her “voices” to go.  St. John was extremely suspicious of the voices and told her that these voices were not from God, but from the Devil.

Scene Two: .John in Toledo

This was the extreme of the struggle between the Calced and the Discalced branches of the Carmelite Order.  St. John is imprisoned in Toledo.  Once a week he is taken out of his cell and beaten and reproved by the brothers.  Finally he escapes.  Taking with him the notes he had written of his poem, the Spiritual Canticle of which the Dark Night of the Soul is the most famous part. 

Scene Three:  The Inquisition

Teresa appears before the Inquisition.  She is accused of heresy, and sexual immorality.

This scene is the interrogation about heresy and immorality.

Scene Four: The Confession

While she was being interrogated by the Inquisition, the Provincial of her order was making her give a general confession (i.e. a review of her whole life).  The relationship between the two of them was a close one.  In their correspondence she referred to him by the code name Paul and he referred to her by the code name Angela.  This section should tell about the founding of St. Joseph's the first convent.

Scene Five: The Ecstasy.

This continues the Inquisition with a focus on the visions and voices.  It concludes with the vision of Christ.


History: The Ecstacy of St. Teresa was produced at the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival.

Availability: Draft in MAP archives.

The script is available from the author at

Running Time (mins): 46-75

Cast: 2M / 1F

Genres: Musical