Monday, November 15, 2010

Francis, the Holy Jester

The Italian Cultural Institute in the framework of the Italian Language Week Worldwide 2010 organised the above theatre extravaganza i.e. 'Francis, the Holy Jester'.

Mario Pirovano Peforming
In town was Italian actor Mario Pirovano a 'jester' in his own right flown to Kenya (His first visit to Africa according to the information he gave us at the end of the play. A place he loved and wishes to come back) to a performance of his English translation of Francis The Holy Jester by Nobel laureate Dario Fo. Mind you the intellectual Property of translated works belongs to the translator-Something I learnt recently in an Intellectual Property Class at British Council. However, this is story for another day!

This play was performed at Phoenix Players at the Professional Centre and was show cased on October 27th and 29th 2010.  

This play lived to its billing i.e. a rare feat of story telling. It depicted the life of a 13th century Catholic monk and founder of Franciscan tradition, St. Francis. 

This story which was given by  Mario Pirovano recounts various events in the life of St Francis, in four scenes.

The first episode/scene was about the wolf that terrorised the people of Gubbio, and how St. Francis (who talked to birds and in this story talked to the wolf! was able to get it not to harm the people Gubbio Village).

The second scene was more or less about St. Francis preaching to the birds.

The third scene was where he travels to Rome to ask Pope Innocent III for permission to preach the gospel in the language of the people instead of Latin (which was unheard of in those days), and start a holy order (in which they should not hold property).
This scene begins with St. Francis going about his norma; business then he is invited to a wedding. He at first  refuses however after much insistence he accepts. It is at this wedding that he is asked to give a story to cheer up the occasion. It is at this point that he gives the story of the wedding at Cana. A friend of his, a priest, informs him in the middle of his story telling that he would be in trouble with the Holy Inquisition for preaching the gospel in a language other than Latin, thus he decides to go to Rome for an audience with the Pope so as to be permitted to preach the Gospel in the native dialect.

The fourth and final scene recounts the death of the saint, in his favourite abode, the Porziuncola being taken care by his Franciscan brothers.
Mario Pirovano
Verdict: This play is structured episodically, choosing four separate events from the life of St. Francis; often illustrating the hardship of life and the redemption Francis finds in his faith. It does NOT in anyway make a mockery of the Catholic faith
I found it to be thought-provoking and entertaining, it was an enjoyable feat of storytelling from Mario.

Mario Pirovano website

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