Meet MU Theatre's First Student Live Stream Technician



colby.jpegInterview with Stephanie Colby about her work on the Digital Reading Series by Theatre 200 marketing practicum student Tory Noble. 

What is your role within the Digital Play Reading Series?

I am the live stream technician.

How has the process of working on this series been going for you?

It’s a learning curve. I am currently the director of Miami Television News, so I have a little bit of experience in the technical side of things and using a video switcher. For IAS, it was a bit different because the actors were right there in front of me, but for the Digital Reading Series, everything is on Zoom, which adds another layer of things I have to learn. I believe I am Miami’s first student live stream technician; I think Gion DeFrancesco did it last semester, but he is not a student. It is a learning curve because there are so many different elements to look into and learn. 

How has working through this process been affected by Covid and the need to do everything virtually?

It’s been kind of good and different/challenging to attend meetings anywhere. I can do a meeting from my bedroom, I don’t necessarily have to be on campus, so I think that is something I’m not used to. For IAS, when we had the people physically in front of us, all I had to do was change the camera angles. Since the Digital Reading Series is on Zoom, it is slightly different because we might have problems that I can’t necessarily fix. For example, if someone’s internet is lagging, I can’t really do anything about that, or if the audio is not synced up to the video, that also creates its own set of problems. Since I am kind of new to this, and so is everyone else, training was a whole different thing too. Since I am not physically with someone, I have to share my screen, and they have to direct me virtually. They could be telling me, “okay, go to the left side of the screen,” and I’m like, “where’s left?!”. 

How has working as the Director of Miami Television News helped with your Digital Play Reading Series role?

This is my third year of being in the club. I talked to my academic advisor and asked if I could get into anything similar, and that’s how I found out about this being one of the Theatre 200 credit options. I’m used to being in the studio with their equipment, and it’s a lot bigger over there compared to the theatre department, but they, of course, have video switches over there and the control room, so it is similar. Being able to combine both of my majors was exciting; I love doing that. 

How has balancing this project’s commitment been with your school work and other everyday life activities?

I thought I would be kind of off the hook a little bit because I figured I would just come in for two days of tech. Still, there is a lot to process, and it has to be quick because the actors only have about one week to look through their materials and prepare, so they are also rushing to get things done. Still, it’s just a little bit of a learning process because I don’t know the show well enough, and I don’t get much time to play around with things. We had a minor issue with the first show because it was supposed to be live-streamed but we realized there was so much that we could not do in 2 days and we ended up having to pre-record that. I am only taking 12 credit hours this semester versus my usual 18, so I was thinking it would be easy but it’s still a lot of work, it’s still a hefty tech week even though I am doing it from home. It might even be a little bit more difficult because I am having to learn it all on my own without someone right there showing me what to do. 

How do you feel like you have benefited as a theatre student from working on this project?

I have definitely benefited in multiple ways from this project, the first being the chance to put this on my resume. As a graduating senior it is important to show that I have technical skills within television and in theatre. It also gives me something to put in a demo reel if I choose to make one. Being able to work with people outside of Miami University was also a great benefit, the directors and the playwrights being unaffiliated with Miami has given me a chance to network outside of people within the theatre department. 

Attend the MUT Digital Reading Series

New works that provide unique perspectives on our contemporary moment, shine a light on injustice, and share stories from underrepresented voices.

Please be advised that the series includes works that depict violence and trauma; audiences should review available information before deciding to attend a reading.

Youtube links to the shows in the Digital Reading Series can be found on the MU Theatre webpage.

Upcoming Premieres: 

Sunday, March 21, 2021, 7:30 pm EST
Silas the Uninvited
by Derek J. Snow, directed by Daryl Harris

Silas tells the all-too-familiar story of a Black man in rural Louisiana who has just been lynched by a mob in 1930, yet finds himself mysteriously alive. In the events to follow, he is confronted with a choice to live again in another time as a Black Man in America and deal with some of the many complicated struggles with race and time that have always plagued this country.

Sunday, March 28, 2021, 7:30 pm EST
Describe the Night
by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Stephen Stocking

Set in Russia over the course of 90 years, this thrilling and epic new play traces the stories of seven men and women connected by history, myth, and conspiracy theories. In 1920, the Russian writer Isaac Babel wandered the countryside with the Red Cavalry. Seventy years later, a mysterious KGB agent spies on a woman in Dresden and falls in love. In 2010, an aircraft carrying most of the Polish government crashed in the Russian city of Smolensk.


These shows are currently live:

The Helpers
by Maggie Lou Rader, directed by Lindsey Augusta Mercer

The Helpers is a new perspective from the other side of the most famous bookshelf in history. Miep Gies, an immigrant, and secretary for Otto Frank's famous Opekta company, leads a group of helpers to preserve the residents of the Secret Annex and the spirit of goodness and survival during World War II. The Helpers is a tale of joy, hope, friendship, and resistance during one of history's darkest moments.

Baby Camp
by Nandita Shenoy, directed by Jenny Mercein

When Toni, Maria, and Aditi arrive at the Future is Freedom Retreat, they don’t know what to expect, but their fearless guide Lois is eager to share her plan to take back the power from conservative forces in government. Set in the not-too-distant future, Baby Camp asks whether adopting the playbook of the opposition is really the path to freedom and whether power is worth any cost.