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The Decameron Project: Musical Theater Storytelling in Times of Trauma

The Decameron Project: Musical Theater Storytelling in Times of Trauma 3:20

Students will use Giovanni Boccaccio's 14th century classic, The Decameron as a starting point from which to explore the fundamentals of storytelling and the ways in which storytelling helps us navigate traumatic experiences.

GLS 335/MTD 326/THR 325: The Decameron Project: Musical Theater Storytelling in Times of Trauma (application deadline: Thursday, April 15). ​

June 7 – July 2, 2021

Peter Mills ’95, Prospect Theater Company; Cara Reichel ’96, Prospect Theater Company; Stacy Wolf, Professor of Theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts

Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron serves as a starting point for this four-week intensive seminar for exploring the fundamentals of storytelling and the various ways in which storytelling helps us navigate traumatic experiences. In The Decameron, a group of ten young people flee Florence during the Black Plague, taking refuge in a Tuscan villa. To keep spirits up during their quarantine, they take turns telling stories. The one hundred tales within the work’s frame narrative offer a portrait of life in medieval Italy. It established Boccaccio as the founder of Italian prose literature and his stories became a model for Italian authors of fairy tales, e.g., Giambattista Basille in The Tale of Tales.

Following Boccaccio's structure, the centerpiece of the course will be the creation of a collection of short musical theater pieces on a variety of contemporary (or reinvented classic) themes, responding to today’s pandemic and exploring the fundamental human need to tell stories. As a culminating assignment for the class, each student will undertake a creative independent project: writing a short musical theater piece, song or other original text. Additionally, each student will collaborate with a classmate to support the presentation of their final project in a reading format at the end of the course.

Students will study Italian language and culture and collaborate virtually with Italian theater artists to develop language skills. One hour of instruction each day (M–F) will be focused on basic Italian language.

This seminar fulfills the Literature and Arts (LA) general requirement as well as a requirement for the certificates in Musical Theater and Theater.

This class will meet from 6/7/21 to 7/2/21, 12p-5p EST Monday – Saturday. This seminar will include some participation outside of the standard class day (10a-12p & 5-6p EST) for meetings or rehearsals with artists in Italy. By enrolling in this seminar, students commit to participating in such activities at the appropriate time from their home base for the summer.

Please note: In order to find the application in GPS, search for the individual program. There is a drop-down menu that you will have to change from “outgoing” to “program enrollment” (found next to SHOW). Term [Summer], and then click [Search]. If you have any questions, please contact Nikki Woolward.

This seminar is generously supported by the Beth M. Siskind Global Seminar Fund. PIIRS Global Seminars are also made possible in part by the generous contributions of alumni and friends and ongoing efforts of the Office of Development.

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