Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write for the BIOGRAPHICAL Genre (12/04/14)
TITLE: St Francis's Gift to Greccio
By Katherine (Kat) Kane
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F – St Francis of Assisi
J – John of Greccio
N1 – Narrator 1
N2 – Narrator 2
T – Townspeople
Tune – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
[All] We welcome you, good gentlefolk. Our play we bid you see
About a famous man of God from rural Italy,
[N1] As loved today as when he lived--
[N2] the thirteenth century,
[All] For his lifestyle of service and love, service and love,
For his lifestyle of service and love.
Exit all. Curtains open, revealing medieval church scene. Enter Townspeople and Narrators, hurrying.
Tune – Ding Dong Merrily on High
[T] Sunrise, off we go again! It’s time to go to Matins,
Which we cannot understand, ‘cos ev’ry thing’s in Latin!
[T&Ns] Bible stories, the Mass, the liturgies,
We la-la-la along, we can’t join in the songs.
We’re there to watch and that is all;
We do as the priest tells us!
Enter Francis through the church door, greeting townspeople as they process through it.
Tune – Good King Wenceslas
[N1] Good Saint Francis did it all,
Then became a friar.
[N2] A simple life became his call,
God, his heart’s desire.
[N1&2] Writing was his gift to share
God in simple language.
Christmas carols, songs and prayers,
New approaches for the age!
Narrators exit through church door.
Scene: a stable in Bethlehem. Francis stands in wonder at the manger. The rest of the cast, doubling as pilgrims, walk around. But Francis’ reaction is noticeably different.
Tune – Once in Royal David’s City
[N1] Once to holy, ancient cities
[N2] Went our friar, a pilgrim to be.
[N1] Saw first-hand his saviour's cradle,
[N2] By such love, so moved was he.
[N1&2]And he knew his townsfolk dear
This great truth anew must hear.
Scene: Medieval Greccio shops. Townspeople hurry about, in and out of shops. Enter Francis. Townspeople acknowledge him briefly but hurry on. Francis sadly shakes his head and exits.
Tune – In the Bleak Midwinter
[N1] In Greccio's cold winter
Christmas time had come;
[N2] Merchant’s pockets bulging –
[N1] That had gone.
[N2] Brother Francis watched and grieved,
Saddened by it all.
How could he change attitudes?
Help hearts hear God's call?
Scene: Narrators enter Francis’ sparsely furnished cell in the friary. Francis is already kneeling before a simple cross.
Tune – O Holy Night!
[F] O holy child! Your beauty they are missing.
To your love, no gifts can compare!
I see my town for worthless objects wishing,
What must I do so they find you instead?
In Bethlehem, my yearning soul delighted;
My heart now aches for those who’ve wandered far
[N1&2] He’d pray and intercede
For his flock, for inspiration;
Some way, somehow, they’d know God’s love again
Some way, somehow, they’d know God’s love again!
Scene: A cave. Actors dressed as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, kings and angels already in place. Francis is preparing a manger, John is arranging the ox and ass props.
Tune – We Three Kings
[N1] Soon inspired was Francis! He then
[N2] Brought in John, a trusted friend.
[J] Show God’s glory in Christmas story,
[F] We’ll bring it alive for them!
[N1&2] O-- how they wondered,
[J&F] Are we right?
No one’s ever seen this sight.
[N]] The Pope agreed it,
[N2] they proceeded.
[N1&2] Planning for the big event.
Francis exit and return excitedly leading Townspeople.
Tune – It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
[T] It came about at Midnight Mass,
Our well-loved rite of yore;
Because the church could overfill,
[F&J] We held the Mass outdoors.
[N1&2] Upon the hill, for all the town,
The Christmas story stood.
No more in Latin, but in the flesh.
[T] At last! We’ve understood!
Tune – O Little Town of Bethlehem
[F] For little town of Greccio,
I’ve done what I sought to do.
[N1] On mountainside, he brought alive
God’s gift of hope anew.
[N2] And he stood there passionately preaching
Love's message clear to them,
[F] Your hope lies here, your King revere;
The ‘Babe of Bethlehem!’
Tune – The Holly and the Ivy
[T&J] Saint Francis of Assisi,
For another three years more
Led a simple life, leading folk to God,
‘Til he went to meet his Lord.
The First Noel
[All] That first nativity
It did pave the way
For the crib scenes we have
In our homes today
Brother Francis' idea
Spread far and near
Telling Christmas's message
The whole world to hear
Noel, noel, noel, noel
God's gift of love is for us as well!
Carols based on:
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Trad.)
Once in Royal David’s City: words, C.F. Alexander; music, H.J.Gauntlett
Ding Dong Merrily on High: G.R. Woodward; music, T. Arbeau
Good King Wenceslas: words, J.M. Neale; music, trad. arr T. Helmor
In the Bleak Midwinter: words, C. Rosetti; Music, G. Holst
O Holy Night : Words P. Cappeau/ J. Sullivan Dwight; music, A. Adam
We Three Kings by J.H.Hopkins Jnr
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear: words, E. Sears; music, R. Storrs Willis
O little Town of Bethlehem; words, P. Brooks; music, L. Redner
The Holly and The Ivy (Trad.)
The First Noel (Trad.)
This story is mostly based on the near-contemporary account of St Bonaventure, which can be found in the above links. ‘The Babe of Bethlehem’ is a direct quotation from his account.
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