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Emerson Performing Arts Students Shine at Kennedy Center Festival

Three Emerson College students took home honors from the Region 1 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, held at Western Connecticut State University January 30-February 4.

Joe Burt ’19 received the Barbizon Award 1st Runner Up for Achievement in Scenic Design for his work on A Bright Room Called Day. Max Rose ’19 received Honorable Mention in Lighting Design for Pride and Prejudice.

And Dante Flores ’19 took home the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award for his work on Pride and Prejudice. As a finalist, Flores was invited to compete in the National KCACTF April 9-14 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Emerson College Today talked to Flores about dramaturgy and his work on the stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel of manners, marriage, and money.

What is a dramaturg?:

“The way I’ve always heard it described is that you’re functioning in the same way that a curator in a museum gallery would. You’re acting as the human voice of whatever work is on display.”

On his work on Pride and Prejudice:

“What [director Courtney O’Connor] wanted to bring to life was the class narrative of the story, because that’s something that’s lost on 21st-century Americans. The concept of the lower gentry is something we don’t have.

“A lot of the research I had to do then is how is society stratified and what kinds of parallels can we draw between [Regency England and 21st-century America]? What did an inter-socioeconomic romance look like then vs. what it looks like now?… How socially acceptable is it for one person to move between classes rather than a whole family moving between classes over a protracted period of time?

What kind of parallels can you draw between romance now vs. then?

“It feels almost cliché to talk about it, but it’s a clear thread to follow the kind of protocol one observes when posting on [dating apps like] Tinder. It feels curated in the same way that … calling cards do.”

[Flores explained that in Regency England, a suitor would visit a love interest at different times of day, based on how closely acquainted the pair were.]

How did his work as dramaturg on the production affect his own acting (he played Mr. Bingley in the show)?

“If I know about the world these characters inhabit, then I already know what kinds of choices I can make, or what can break the narrative.

“The [Emerson Stage] production started in 21st-century clothing and then steadily moved back into Regency clothing. The difference between wearing a suit and a Regency pair of boots and tailcoat is astronomically different. It alters the way you sit, the way you walk, the way you breathe… The only way I could breathe properly was if I sat on the edge of a seat perfectly erect.

“It changes the way you interact with yourself.”

How did it feel to win in his category at the regional KCACTF?

“I’m really grateful to the cast and crew of Pride and Prejudice, and I’m really grateful to all the professors and advisors I’ve had along the way.”


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