Good lords and ladies sitting in a salon, eating fine foods, drinking fine wine, listening to stories. Laughter, merriment. Gasps and ‘oh no she/he/they didn’t!’
This is the setting for an event to take place in the East Kingdom on April 27, 2019. A group of performers and organizers are planning to immerse event goers in the late 14th century of Florence, Italy, via stories from The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio.
Lady Lilie Dubh inghean ui Mordha is a bardic performer who has been awed by the productions of both Beowulf and Njal’s Saga. She took the immersion idea and found something that clicked for her. The Decameron is a series of stories told by people escaping from the Black Death in Florence in the mid 14th century. The book was published first in the 1350s, and again in the 1370s, just before the author’s death. The stories range from silly and fun, to scary, to witty and lively, to downright Bawdy.
“These are stories for an adult audience,” Lilie Dubh says. “Parents will have to make their own decisions as to bringing their children.” There are 100 tales in the book in all. Lilie Dubh is working on creating a list of tales to be told in one day and evening for the event. “A Day of the Decameron will be just that,” she says, “A day of stories from the Decameron – probably about 15 tales, along with music and songs from the time and place, as well as appropriate foods, appropriate settings. That’s what immersion events are about – you start with the literary and add in all the things that would have existed to help people feel like they are actually there. In this case, we are re-creating a Florentine villa where people will be escaping from the mundane for awhile.”
The event will take place in the Crown Province of Ostgardr’s Canton of Northpass. The site is a lovely 1920’s mansion currently being used by the Knights of Columbus. The local chapter is eagerly helping the planning committee, and perhaps some of their members will also attend this SCA event.
Besides Lilie Dubh, several performers have already spoken up to be included in the event. Dame Judith Fitzhenry, Maitresse Sabine de Kerbriant, Maestra Ana de Guzman, as well as some wonderful younger performers, such as Juliana Bird (currently a royal bard), Siona Dunleavy, Cedar san Barefoot and Lianor de Matos are all in for this event. From further shores, she has also gotten Mestres Tyzes Sofia (Zsof) and Peregrine the Illuminator on the list of performers.
The set for the event is being created by Lord Brandr Aronsson and Viscount Sir Edward Zifrans of Gendy, both long-time theatre people. The challenge of creating the atmosphere of a Florentine villa intrigued both, and they are diving in with glee. The event’s main room will look very like a Florentine villa!
Food-wise, the kitchens for this event are being headed by locally known Lord Friderich Grimme, a chef who has both helmed kitchens and helped out in many others. This project is something of a research challenge for Friderich, and he is happily researching all aspects of Florentine cooking. He promises a repast for event goers that will be period and delicious.
The royally chartered East Kingdom College of Performers is actively involved in this event, as it was for the Bhakaili-Hartshorndale production of El Cid in 2013. Performers and musicians will be able to draw on College resources to help them get even more immersed in the time and place of the Decameron. “The College is a great resource for performers,” says Lilie Dubh. “I’m hoping that this event will help the College be more known as well as entertain our audience.
Put this one on your calendars folks! It’s a one-time only event!