SCENE TO “As If A Father”

TWlLIGHT IN ASSISI. ENTER FRANCESCO RUNNING. HE CARRIES A CLOTH SACK, LOOKS ANXIOUSLY AROUND AND RUNS OFF OPPOSITE.

BERNARDONE
OFFSTAGE
Francesco!

FRANCESCO RUNS ON UPSTAGE, TO SETTLE AT THE RUINS OF DAMIANO. THERE HE IS FOCUSED ON THE CROSS, TO WHICH HE SPEAKS THROUGHOUT.

BERNARDONE
OFFSTAGE
Damn it! Where is my son? Francesco!

FRANCESCO
Lord, help me.

BERNARDONE
OFFSTAGE
I'll swear to the court. He means to ruin my business!

FRANCESCO
What do you want me to do?

ENTER AGITATED BERNARDONE, FOLLOWED BY PICA.

PICA
Pietro, you must not do this!

BERNARDONE
I must not? Mind yourself, Pica. He is my son - - -

PICA
And my son.

BERNARDONE
And I will do what is a father's right to do!

PICA
Can't you understand that he is not himself?

BERNARDONE
He was himself enough to accept the ransom from prison! If he were not Francesco Bernardone, he should still be rotting in Perugia and the money returned to me.

PICA
The money! Always it's about the money?

BERNARDONE
No son of Bernardone will make a fool of his father.
PICA It's his illness, Pietro -

BERNARDONE
Illness! If he's so damned ill he should be staying at home, not running through the streets with his friends.

PICA
They say he doesn't go with them anymore.

BERNARDONE
They're trying to protect him.

PICA
More than his father?

BERNARDONE
His father will have the truth!

PICA
What truth, Pietro?

BERNARDONE
The truth that expects a son to be honest among his family! The truth of loyalty to his name!

PICA
There is loyalty in his heart, Pietro. I've seen it. If you were less often away, you'd know it, too. Francesco is a good son.

BERNARDONE
A good son does not steal from his father's business!

PICA
Is it a good father who locks up his son like a criminal?

BERNARDONE
A man has property rights as a merchant and a father. A good wife will recognize this, and not interfere!

PICA
Pietro Bernardone, I will not be the jailer in your son's home. I set him free because that is his right. If he never returns, I pray the saints forgive you.

EXIT PICA

BERNARDONE
Pica!.. . Pica! ...

MUSIC UP:
"AS IF A FATHER"

Damn it! Francesco!