CROSS AND SWORD
A SYMPHONIC DRAMA
SPANISH SETTLEMENT OF FLORIDA
(With Authentic Folksongs, Religious Chants, Dances and Hymn Tunes)
First produced in the Saint Augustine amphitheatre June 27, 1965,
in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the oldest city in America.
The dark shadow of evening comes moving in from the eastern ocean and spreading its vast wings over Florida and Anastasia Island. Opposite and to the west the fan-spread of fires reaching up the sky dies out before it and the red circular-saw disc of the sun which has already begun to cut deep into the body of the recumbent earth with its fiery jagged teeth now sinks down and under out of sight. The audience is gathering in the amphitheatre for the play. The muffled and shadowed big Center Stage in front stands silent and waiting. So do the various acting areas to the Right and the Left and the deep woods beyond -- the whole making a wide sweeping arc all "charged up" for the drama and where action may break out at any time. A great cathedral bell starts tolling off at the Right rear. The play is ready to begin. The audience lights blink twice, and as the bell gives a few more tollings. these lights go down to half-dim. The bell is silent. The theatre music strikes up in the opening hymn and plays it through once. A chorus of men, women and children's voices bursts into song off-scene in the direction of the bell, the music accompanying. This singing is both live and taped -- the unseen chorus singing live around properly placed microphones. The song spreads through the sound system until it permeates and envelops the amphitheatre. The audience grows quiet, and each one can begin to be alone with his own thoughts. The vibrant harmony fills the night-falling air with benediction and grace. And in some listening hearts the feelings of sweet devotion and peace are awakened with touches of bliss even and of adoration here and there before the mystery of the Triune God, his Son, the Holy Virgin Mary, and the redemption of man's soul from sin and death -- man the mystery-mysterium on this spinning compulsed globe, man meditating, man thinking under the open starry sky, a communion with nature, nature likewise a mysterium.