ONE of the most famous – and sauciest – collections of stories from the Middle Ages, Boccaccio’s Decameron, is brought to the stage of Shaftesbury Arts Centre from Tuesday 17th to Saturday 21st April.
Adapted and directed by Dave Hollis, this is an ebullient and raunchy dramatisation of some of Boccaccio’s infamous short stories, which were originally set in 14th century Italy.
The Decameron (c1351) is an entertaining series of 100 stories written in the wake of the Black Death. The tales are told in a country villa outside the city of Florence by ten young noble men and women who are seeking to escape the ravages of the plague.
Boccaccio’s skill as a dramatist is masterfully displayed in these vivid portraits of people from all stations in life, with plots that revel in a bewildering variety of human reactions, full of love affairs, practical jokes, lovesick wives, and unbelievably naughty goings on between randy nuns and ribald monks with dirty habits.
The dramatisation works with a framing device of the Pietro Drusiano Touring Theatre, six actors and a musician, plus a trio of brothers. The cast is led by Sue Cadmore as Caterina, the leading member of the troupe, and Susan Grant as her assistant Benedetta.
The Cristina twins are played by Rachael Alexander and Meghan Powell, Bryan Farrell is Marinetti and Jerome Swan is Piero. Volpino he musician is Ann-Louise Richards.
The Marini brothers are Mike Johnston as Giovanni, brother one, Peter Morris as Paoletto, brother two, and Marie Stubbs as Angelo, brother three.
The Decameron (itself an adaptation of stories from the classical world and the known medieval world) was used by Chaucer (including The Reeve’s Tale and The Clerk’s Tale), for several plays by Lope de Vega, Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well and one of the plot lines of Cymbeline, and Moliere’s School for Husbands.
For more information and tickets telephone 01747 854321 or visit www.shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk