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Decameron show Friday at Tamaqua Community Arts Center

Published August 30. 2012 05:03PM

Decameron will be held tomorrow at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center, 125 Pine Street.

The show is comprised of a tapestry of human comedy, or, to put it another way, a laugh in the 14th century."The Decameron", also called "Prince Galehaut" is a 14th-century medieval allegory by Gio vanni Boccaccio, told as a frame story encompassing 100 tales by ten young people.

Boccaccio probably began composing the work in 1350, and finished it in 1351 or 1353. The bawdy tales of love in "The Decameron" range from the erotic to the tragic. Tales of wit, practical jokes, and life lessons contribute to the mosaic. In addition to its literary import, it documents life in 14th-century Italy.Set in Italy during the time of the Black Death, a group of seven young women and three young men flee from plague-ridden Florence to a villa, where no one lives, in the countryside of Fiesole for two weeks.

To pass the evenings, every member of the party tells a story each night, except for one day per week for chores, and the holy days in which they do no work at all, resulting in ten nights of storytelling over the course of two weeks. Thus, by the end of the fortnight they have told 100 stories.

Boccaccio spins variations and reversals of previous material, forms a whole and not just a collection of stories. The basic plots of the stories include mocking the lust and greed of the clergy; tensions in Italian society between the new wealthy commercial class and noble families; and the perils and adventures of traveling merchants.

Throughout "Decameron" the mercantile ethic prevails and predominates. The commercial and urban values of quick wit, sophistication, and intelligence are treasured, while the vices of stupidity and dullness are cured, or punished. While these traits and values may seem obvious to the modern reader, they were an emerging feature in Europe with the rise of urban centers and a monetized economic system beyond the traditional rural "feudal" and monastery systems which placed greater value on piety and loyalty.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and proceeds go towards the center.

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