The Decameron Project: Musical Theater Storytelling in Times of Trauma

June 7 – July 2, 2021

This PIIRS Global Seminar is led by Peter Mills ’95 and Cara Reichel ’96 of Prospect Theater Company along with Stacy Wolf, Professor of Theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts.

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. Students will study Italian language and culture, collaborate virtually with Italian theater artists to develop language skills, and their own short musical theater stories. 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 will be the centerpiece of the course

Prerequisites and Restrictions
Language study will be enhanced by virtual interaction with members of the Irpinia-based Compagnia Teatrale “La Fermata,” a small Italian theater company. This collaboration will present an opportunity to put Italian language into active practice, through performing brief monologues in Italian. Additional guest artists/lecturers may be invited to participate in the class process through virtual / Zoom connections, or other in other safe ways.

Other Information
This class will meet from 6/7/21 to 7/2/21, daily from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (EDT) including Saturdays. This seminar will include activities in Italy via Zoom, that will require participation outside of the standard class day (10 a.m.-12 p.m. & 5-6 p.m. EDT) open for meetings or rehearsals to be scheduled as needed). By enrolling in this seminar, students commit to participating in such activities at the appropriate time from their home base for the summer.

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


Application required. The application deadline has passed; students must commit to participating in the seminar by April 15. If you have questions, please contact Stacy Wolf at