A Dramaturg’s Note: BUD, NOT BUDDY


My name is Janine Merolla and I am a second-year graduate student at Emerson. I am currently the dramaturg for Emerson Stage’s production of Bud, Not Buddy, scheduled to go up in November! I’ve just begun the process but my job basically entails providing resources and insight into the world of the play. If any of the cast or crew has questions about the time period, employment, transportation, anything that has to do with the world of the characters, it is my job to research and find the answers! I have a blog that serves as the central space for everyone to seek out the answers I find. I also provide a connection between Emerson and our general audience, pursuing ways in which the public will be interested in our work! In this particular play, that means discovering ways to connect to our youth. I am currently in the process of creating a lobby display for our production that invites the young audience to enter the world of Bud, Not Buddy in an interactive and informative (and fun!) way! It is an awesome experience to be able to communicate and create alongside such talented people in this production! Come check us out!

And visit our blog here!

Bud, Not Buddy runs in the Semel Theater from November 11-21. Find ticket information here.

Stardate 10/5/10

By Richelle Devereaux-Murray

Hello Everybodeeeee!  (Picture Grover saying that, it makes more sense)

Today is the first official day of four shows in the shop at the same time.    It’s the first  measurement day for Nine.   All the talented ladies and gents will be stopping by for us to do extensive measurements and take their photos.  These we keep in the show bible and refer to constantly.

Always working on multiple shows simultaneously causes some funny moments. Some people are altering tux pants, I am working on Shriner Fez embroidery,  Sarah Siddons is being trimmed, and then there are discussions about nuns and  lingerie.  Not nuns in lingerie, don’t worry.

Yesterday Chloe was making an executioners hood,  so first she make a mock up in muslin.   Muslin is an unbleached cotton fabric, that we use to test out patterns, so that when working with the real fabric, no mistakes are made.

Of course there is a photo!  Don’t worry, the axe is a prop.  Designers don’t really get to beat their assistants.

Courtney is one mean designer!

So from that muslin mock up,  Chloe made corrections and the finished project looked a little something like this:

We mean business!

Meanwhile, on another table Brian was working hard doing cartridge pleats in velvet.  This is accomplished by hand sewing at a set distance and length with two threads, when pulled tight they make beautiful pleats.  A little something like this:

The backside of cartridge pleats. To see the front, you must see The Actors Nightmare!

Tune in next week, for another rousing episode of As the Costume Shop Turns.

A Moment with our Chair, Melia Bensussen

By Melia Bensussen

Am lecturing wonderful student actors on the history of the American theatre – did you know that in 1948 you could have seen Death of A Salesman, Oklahoma and South Pacific? Not to mention Light Up The Sky.  Enjoying the actors learning how to walk through doorways and slam doors on a beat.  Arriving to our Paramount rehearsals after leaving another gifted company at the Huntington, after rehearsals for Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker.

At the Paramount I tell actors to speed up, the period demands it, at the Huntington I tell them to slow down and take their pauses – what this new play requires.  A great way to spend the day.


Melia Bensussen is the Chair of the Department of Performing Arts. She is also a professional director, currently working on two plays that open within weeks of each other.

A Noble Experiment

by Julie Hennrikus

The Emerson Stage blog has undergone a face lift. New blogging software, and a new blogging philosophy. Let’s call it “something everyday”. The goal/hope/dream is to have SOME sort of content every day during the academic year. Some call it ambitious. I call it more than possible.

Friday morning, as Tyler posted in his State of the Season, we had three production meetings for our first shows of the season, all of which are in rehearsal. NINE was just cast. THE GOLDEN AGE will be cast as of Monday, and auditions for X DANCE are next week. We have info meetings for playwrights regarding NEW FEST, and I have a MAN OF LA MANCHA meeting next week. With all of this activity, plus stage managers taking CPR, forums with visiting guests not to mention faculty, staff and students and their wide range of work, how can we be lacking blog material?

So check back often. Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook. And let us know what you think as we give you a glimpse into life here at Emerson Stage.

State of the Season – Oct 1

By Tyler York

It’s October 1st and work on the productions in our 2010-2011 Season is humming along nicely. We are three weeks away from the opening of LIGHT UP THE SKY in the Paramount Theatre (hooray!), which means we have less than three weeks to finish our work. From all accounts things are going well and there are some exciting things in the works for this weekend that would bring even more of the late-40’s magic of Boston to life onstage.

Sitting in on the series of production meetings this morning, I was struck by the fact that we have four shows in various states of production and another four in pre-production. The conversations taking place in each of the three meetings today demonstrated this fact:

In the LIGHT UP THE SKY meeting, all were in a light, jovial mood as finishing touches and technical load-in schedules were discussed. In fact, I couldn’t help but note the collegial spirit of the group and make a mental comparison to the relationship shared between the characters in the show.

THE ACTOR and THE ACTOR’S NIGHTMARE centered around conversations about specific elements of the production, the width of a balustrade for example. Fabric was also a recurring topic of conversation. Scenic and Props are looking at fabric today for furniture upholstery and Costumes will be sharing fabric swatches with Lighting soon for testing to ensure the color of a costume isn’t affected by lighting and vice versa. All part of the collaboration required to put on a well-designed show!

BUD, NOT BUDDY, our TYA production, is in the early stages of production. Rehearsals just began this past Monday and the cast and director, Robert Colby, are having fun exploring how the set and costumes can help character development. Naturally, those explorations bring about a lot of questions! By bringing those questions to the production meeting, designers and production staff can help define the realm of possibilities.

It’s all very exciting. The fourth production this semester, NINE, was recently cast and will soon join the roster of production meetings… and so the cycle continues.


Tyler York is the Assistant to the General Manager of Emerson Stage and an alum of Emerson’s BFA Stage/Production Management program.