It’s a (Remote) Musical!

By Jake Mouchawar, Production Dramaturg (This Golden Day)

Many theatre companies across the field have been looking for new ways to reach audiences during this pandemic, and Emerson Stage is right at the heart of this trend. Since last March, Emerson students have been learning via a mix of in-person and remote learning. Max Boone (Soloist, “Double-A Dax”) took the entire second half of his junior acting studio class over Zoom and had even done a cabaret on the platform before the pandemic hit.

All rehearsals and performances for the Emerson Stage 2020–2021 season have been remote. Performing online requires performers to adapt the fundamentals of their craft to a new context. Brendan Massar (Soloist, “I’m Coming Home”), for example, recounts having to learn how to remotely access an energy and flow that usually come with being in the room with the other actors. Nevertheless, the Zoom rehearsal process has turned out to be an exciting and rewarding process. Maura LaBlanc (Soloist, “Devin”) attributes the success not only to the hard-working cast, but also to “the incredible work that’s being done by people who know what they’re doing” behind the scenes like the stage management team and the designers. Maia Tivony (Assistant Stage Manager) notes how exciting it has been to see her own position adapt and to add another theatrical skill to her toolbelt. Zoom is a completely new normal for the industry, but when has the theatre community ever backed down from a challenge?

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