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Student, faculty work side-by-side in off-campus play

cast of broke-ology with emerson benny sato ambush and monty coleFrom Broke-ology are (from left) David Curtis, Johnny Lee Davenport, Patrice Jean-Baptiste, Director Benny Sato Ambush, and Monty Cole '11. 

The day after Theatre Studies major Monty Cole ’11 graduates, he has an audition in Chicago. Cole said that his success rests on the close working relationship he’s been able to forge with Emerson faculty members, specifically Distinguished Producing Director-in-Residence Benny Sato Ambush.

The two worked together on the Emerson Stage production Light Up the Sky, and have now collaborated in the professional world. Ambush is currently directing the Lyric Stage’s production of playwright Nathan Louis Jackson’s Broke-ology, in which Cole stars. The play is about a modern-day, working-class family dealing with the daily struggles that come with being poor. Cole plays the youngest brother in the family, Malcolm King.

“Cole is a well-rounded student,” said Ambush, who juggles his work at Emerson with his work at the Boston-based Lyric Stage.  “He’s an interesting and creative person to work with and I always enjoy that.” When Cole auditioned and won the part of Malcolm, he was able to work it out so that his performance at the Lyric would act as an independent study for Emerson. Part of the agreement was that he had to complete journal entries about his time working on Broke-ology, and meet regularly with Ambush to discuss the process of bridging the span between an academic setting and the professional stage.

“He’s pushed me to recognize that I’m in a professional setting and shown me how to take advantage of it,” noted Cole. “I feel confident in graduating because I’ve already had this experience in the real world. Now I know how to network and I’m not afraid to ask for someone’s information.” During his time directing at Emerson, Ambush treats students just as he treats working professionals. “It’s really cool that his style stays the same, no matter who he’s directing. I’ve been able to experience that first-hand,” said Cole.

Ambush is just as complimentary toward Cole. “Within the past year, I’ve had the chance to really get to know him,” said Ambush. “He’s made the transition into the working world and done it beautifully.”

Photo Credit: The Lyric Stage

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