Search
Menu

‘In bocca al lupo’ (‘Into the Mouth of the Wolf’): A Musical Theater Exploration of Giambattista Basile’s ‘Tale of Tales’

In addition to studying language and history through the lens of a regional collection of tales, this course will allow students to develop a working knowledge of the richly collaborative process through which musical theater is created, as well as a first-hand understanding of the role that directors, performers, and others play in interpreting work and giving feedback to the creative development process. 

‘In bocca al lupo’ (‘Into the Mouth of the Wolf’): A Musical Theater Exploration of Giambattista Basile’s ‘Tale of Tales’ Gesualdo, Italy
Peter Mills ’95 Prospect Theater Company
Cara Reichel ’96 Prospect Theater Company

Stacy Wolf, professor of theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts

Written in Neapolitan dialect, and published posthumously in 1634-36 by Basile’s sister Adriana, The Tale of Tales comprises fifty fairy tales and was the first collection of literary fairy tales to appear in Western Europe. Bridging the gap between oral folk tradition and literature, it became a reference point for Perrault and the Brothers Grimm, as well as a valued resource for folklorists.

The seminar will be divided into two phases.  The first half of the course will be dedicated to gaining basic language and cultural understanding, digesting the source material along with critical readings, and providing basic instruction in musical theater writing and performance process. The second half of the course will focus on rehearsing original musical material with guest artists from New York City’s Prospect Theater Company in preparation for the culminating theater performance, while students also work on writing their own final assignment.

In addition to studying language and history through the lens of a regional collection of tales, this course will allow students to develop a working knowledge of the richly collaborative process through which musical theater is created, as well as a first-hand understanding of the role that directors, performers, and others play in interpreting work and giving feedback to the creative development process.  By working closely with professionals, students will also gain valuable experience in the craft of musical theater writing — learning some of the basic principles of form as well as how to shape songs and musicalized scenes for maximum storytelling clarity and effectiveness.

The seminar will be centered in the community of Gesualdo, located approximately 90 minutes’ drive from Naples, in the interior of the country. Excursions include the nearby cities of Pompeii, Paestum, Naples, Amalfi, and numerous small hill towns in the area of Gesualdo, each with their own specific dialects and cultural identity.

This course fulfills the Literature and Arts (LA) general education requirement.

“In bocca al lupo” (“Into the Mouth of the Wolf”) is co-sponsored by the Lewis Center for the Arts.