I’ll begin with a quote: “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.”
It’s nice, right?
The process of getting to tonight has been a long and rewarding journey, the fruits of which we are happy to share with you today.
This play, the characters presented speak loudly through time to bring a 13th century mystic squarely into the 21st century. St. Francis is presented as Frank- a real human being- there is nothing magical about his life or his faith. When thinking of a saint, it’s easy, and I’m just as guilty of this, to forget that they were real people with real lives, living through their own real problems. What makes Frank unique and ultimately ‘St. Francis’ is how he influenced others. His prayer, while possibly written long after his death, articulates his position beautifully: “not so much to be loved as to love,…for it is in giving that we receive.”
Your guide this evening is Angelo, cousin to the great saint. It is through his eyes that the life of St. Francis will be revealed. From page to stage, from first line to last, I have come to love Angelo- his honesty and his questions- the very nature of his character allows us, as an audience, to re-evaluate and investigate those assumptions on which we base our everyday lives. The relationship between Angelo and Frank; the challenges of faith, family, and fidelity are ones that are as relevant in our day and age as they were eight-hundred years ago.
The unique worldview of St. Francis is extremely important to us today. As a reaction against the cynicism found in our society, Francis presents us with another viewpoint: to be thankful for all things, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. This understanding isn’t just personal to the individual, it’s social. It colours all our relationships and really dictates how we treat others. While it is so easy to be pessimistic in our world, Francis shows us a different way.
This play is presents a challenge- do we want to be thankful for what we have or cynical about what we don’t?
Ultimately, this is what Angelo struggles with and why I relate so much to him.
I’ve learned so much from St. Francis as we’ve tackled with his life and work over the past eight months. So many talented and dedicated people have involved themselves in presenting the life of this famous saint. I would like to take the time now to offer my sincere thanks and praise to everyone who lent a hand. As an independent theatre group, we are only as strong as our volunteers and I thank all of them from the bottom of my heart.
In an effort to do St. Francis justice, I humble myself with complete thankfulness to the wonderful people who helped allow the show to go on. I’d like to thank all our families, friends, and spouses, who have had to make sacrifices alongside us, so that this dream could become a reality. Thank you.
I’d also like to thank you for taking the time to support local theatre. To the audience, without whom, we would all be alone.
Enjoy the show.