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Thinkery & Verse Announces Decameron 2020 Podcast

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Thinkery & Verse is proud to announce Decameron 2020, a podcast reading and discussion of Giovanni Boccaccio's classic work-because in an age where countless publications are referencing The Decameron, it feels great to know what the hell you're talking about. Decameron 2020 is now available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all other major podcast directories.

To arrive at a viable podcast, Thinkery & Verse has taken John Florio's delightfully out-of-copyright translation, updated the language into a more modern idiom, made the occasional cross-reference to the Italian original, and then nabbed eleven young, diverse, out-of-work actors to enact, relive, and then discuss Bocaccio's Decameron as it relates to contemporary pandemic experiences. In telling these stories in 2020, we hope to bridge the historical distance between these youths living through the Black Death and ourselves living through COVID-19. We do this by giving them-and the stories they tell-a voice. In this series, each Florentine is portrayed by a different voice actor who tells the story aloud as though we ourselves are taking refuge in the Italian countryside. After 3 or 4 episodes (one story per episode), the actors will then regroup for a special discussion. They unpack each story's themes, and highlight the contrasts and similarities that they notice between Boccaccio's tales and our own lives.

To reawaken the full sense of Boccaccio's framing device, our podcast will be the first time that The Decameron has been recorded in English by ten different actors, as opposed to a single reader.

Guest artists include Karen Alvarado, Erin Bogert, Ashley Bufkin, Celine Dirkes, Diana Guizado, Bob Jones, JM Meyer, Brady Marchand (Sound Engineer), Abishek Nair, Regan Sims, Reagan Tankersly, and Ania Upstill.

In the end, some listeners will love the stories. Others will find them disturbing. Some will love (or despair at) Boccaccio's famously topical introduction about the effects of plague on Florentine society in 1348. Some will shake a fist at Renaissance youths discussing sex with no chaperones around (or rather, alive) to stop them (okay, boomers). And some may be surprised by parallel sentiments about the corruption of "leadership" even from citizen living on different continents and hundreds of years ago.

So why now? Thinkery & Verse thinks The Decameron is one of those famous, seven-hundred year-old books that many people know about, but no one actually reads, and so by sharing it via this podcast, we hope it can reach a new audience. But not because Boccaccio is some 'conduit of our values' or a perfect teacher of 'enduring truths.' Instead, our team has volunteered to undertake this podcast because, like Boccaccio's young survivors, we believe the current pandemic has exposed some of the brutal hypocrisies of our society, and we want to learn how to talk about them with wit, anger, honesty, and humor.

Release Schedule

Series One (Boccaccio's Introduction, Stories 1-3 and Discussion 1) goes live 7/25 at 11 am EST

Series Two (Stories 4-7 and Discussion 2) goes live 8/8 at 11 am EST

Series Three (Stories 8-10 and Discussion 3) goes live 8/22 at 11 am EST


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