Fresh Perspective

National Emmy Award-winning Video Director Christiana Tye shines a spotlight on some of the behind-the-scenes technical and artistic work bringing the Live series to life.

By Jaclyn Jermyn

What do you have to consider when adapting your well-established television skills to a more unfamiliar medium like LIVE, up-close theater?

Christiana Tye: As a producer for NBC Nightly News and The Today Show, I learned how to best tell a story by combining strong writing and powerful images. We're doing that here, but with the added bonus of working with talented directors whose artistry makes the storytelling part of this puzzle easier. The challenge lies in the logistics of directing the camera crew because they are on stage, moving around and interacting with the actors. It becomes a choreographed dance between all of them. 

What are some lessons you learned working on “The Sound Inside” that you’re looking forward to expanding on with the upcoming productions of “Ohio State Murders” and “I Hate It Here?”

CT: Directors usually have two whole weeks of previews to fine tune their production before it opens. We had only four days to rehearse The Sound Inside with our film crew. We loaded the gear in on Saturday, began staging the play with cameras that afternoon and were making movement and camera angle decisions right up to the live dress rehearsal on Wednesday evening. We have all learned how to make the very best of our limited time together.

You’re working closely with each director to translate their artistic visions for the camera. What’s the best part of this process?

CT: My first day with everyone in the Owen Theatre for The Sound Inside was memorable. I imagined I would simply meet everyone and try to put them at ease about the crew's arrival in a few days. Instead, I was welcomed immediately and everyone, including Bob Falls, began asking me how I thought we should approach a scene...would this idea work...where would I suggest a camera be for this interaction, etc. It was thrilling. All of my life's interests were colliding on stage at the Goodman, where for years I had been covering theater as a member of the press.

When it comes to audience experience, what are you considering on a project like the LIVE series?

CT: The power of live theater is never lost on me. When Bob Falls and I first started discussing this project, he said he did not want these plays to look like movies—I completely agreed. Although we may have all of the bells and whistles we need to create a movie-like production, I want to honor the playwright, the directors and the actors by sticking to the storytelling. I feel my job is to direct the audience's focus where it needs to be and because our cameras capture nuances that may be missed if you were watching at the theater, my hope is a viewer can enjoy a front row view from the comfort of their home.