ACT ONE PROLOGUE

Dawn breaks over Assisi. On stage is a mixed CHORUS of anonymous characters to represent:

BEGGARS (2 MEN / 2 WOMEN)
CITIZENS (1 MAN / 2 WOMEN)
NOBLES (1 MAN / 1 WOMAN)
1 KNIGHT / 1 PRIEST

They stand separately and speak without interaction. Behind them is the City Wall of Assisi.

Assisi has fascinated mere mortals for as long as anyone can remember -- and longer.
Some say it is the light here, that allows for profound insights and spiritual visions, but also for deep blindness.
Others claim that Assisi's place high on the Umbrian hillside encourages those who would be gods, and inspires those who would know God.
Assisi is that kind of place.

There are many stories here, as there are many voices. And there are many concerns.
For wealth and power and prosperity, for position and prestige, and for family.
Near the end of the 12th century, Madonna Pica, wife of the ambitious cloth merchant, Pietro Bernardone, gave birth to their first son while her husband was away on business. She named the boy Giovanni, after the Baptist. But her husband, enamored of life in France, wouId later insist that the boy be called Francesco. . .
Assisi is that kind of place.

Twelve years later, the Lady Ortolana of the House of Offreduccio, would take her prayers to St. Michael on a night when darkness kept everyone else in their homes. It was a night with no moon, and the air bursting with such silence as bears the weight of God.
In her prayer, Ortolana listened with the heart of a mother.
"Don't be afraid," she was told. "You will joyfully bring forth a clear light to illumine the world." Assisi is that kind of place.

There are concerns for faith and for property, and for mere survival. And of course, there is concern for peace. Peace and good will.
Assisi is that kind of place.

MUSIC CUE:
"Assisi Is"

CHORUS SINGS
ASSISI IS THE KIND OF PLACE WHERE WE ALL KNOW EACH OTHER. YOUR COUSIN'S SISTER AND MY BROTHER MAYBE SCOLDED BY THE BAKER'S MOTHER
WHEN THEY MISBEHAVE ON THE PIAZZA
(WHO WOULD MISBEHAVE ON THE PIAZZA?)
ASSISI IS THE KIND OF PLACE WHERE LIFE IS WHAT WE MAKE IT. OUR DAYS ARE LONG AND WE ENJOY EACH MINUTE OF THIS LIFE UNTIL WE'RE TAKEN
BACK TO OUR CREATOR IN THE HEAVEN
(HOW CAN YOU BE SURE IT WILL BE HEAVEN?)
THERE'S NO GUARANTEE IT WILL BE HEAVEN - ASSISI SEEMS SO CLOSE TO GOD.

HIGH ON A HILL - ASSISI ON THE HILL
WHERE ANGELS ARE OUR NEIGHBORS AND WE TRUST THEY ALWAYS WILL BE.
HERE ON THE HILL, ASSISI ON THE HILL IS HOME TO EVERY PASSION KNOWN TO MAN.
AND THE WOMEN KEEP US HONEST AS THEY CAN.

ASSISI IS AN ANCIENT TOWN, WHERE ROMAN TROOPS BEAT THE LOCALS DOWN - DEMANDING THEIR SUBMISSION
(SHOULD THIS BE OUR CONDITION?)
WHY SHOULD ASSISI BE A WHIPPING POST?
WHY SHOULD OUR PEOPLE BE DISTRESSED?
WHY SHOULD OUR NEIGHBORS AND OUR COUSINS AND OUR BROTHERS WHO ARE WORKING EVERY DAY, SEE THE NOBLES TAKE OUR BEST?