The difficulty of ‘Someone from Assisi’ is to carry the burden of two
tremendous elements as subordinate to elements that must overweight
them-i.e., brief summarized sketches of a St. Francis and a St. Clara
as merely contributive to the idea of the Erotic as Destroyer and the
Erotic as Creative.
– Thornton Wilder, Journal, December 7, 1958
Less amusing is that they stage a play of mine about St. Francis. . . I wanted one almost blind, toothless, but a flame of happiness; and they give me a man who could be a full-back on the Indiana football team tomorrow and who has just risen from mountains of corned beef and cabbage.
– Thornton Wilder in a letter written March 30, 1962,
to Glenway Wescott about the actor cast as Father Francis in the 1962 Circle in the Square production
1 Man, 2 Women, 1 Girl
In this play about the Deadly Sin of Lust, Saint Francis, almost blind and toothless and nearing the end of his life, revisits Assisi, where he encounters Pica, a young girl with the same name as his mother; Mother Clara of Saint Damian’s Convent; and Mona Lucrezia (now a mad woman) with whom he had a love affair when he was a wild, willful young man known as Francis the Frenchman, and she was a young married woman. Saint Francis still seeks expiation for the “load of sin” with which he has offended God. The play poses questions about the true meaning of love-and, as Wilder wrote, about “the ideas of the Erotic as Destroyer and the Erotic as Creative.”
Someone from Assisi was first produced at the Circle in the Square Theater in New York January 10, 1962, as one of three plays grouped as “Plays for Bleecker Street.
A Note on Publication:
Someone from Assisi was first published in 1997 by TCG in The Collected Short Plays of Thornton Wilder, edited by Donald Gallup and Tappan Wilder. It is also included in Collected Plays & Writings on Theater edited by J. D. McClatchy, published by The Library of America in 2007.