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Technology in Monmouth College's Theater Department

Technology in Monmouth College's Theater Department

eAs technology has progressed, the theater department at Monmouth College has adapted to use the new tools that are available for its goals.

One of the most influential tools is the Dropbox.The Dropbox is an online program which stores all of the guides and plans that are used to create every play. Each play has a folder with subfolders, full of different kinds of files that can be accessed by anyone in the theater department.  It stores all kinds of information for any given play.

Doug Rankin, chair of the theater department, is the theater department's webmaster and been working with Dropbox since it started up this year. He himself has been recording information for the theater department for the last ten years and took to navigating Dropbox with ease. This new way of storing information makes it more available to the department and makes it that much easier to refer to previous creations.

When introducing a new play or concept, directors often give PowerPoint presentations that go over the basics of the play. On stage and in rehearsal, the stage managers also write electronic reports with sections dealing specifically with how they viewed the acting, costumes, lights, sound, etc. The director of the play then posts artistic notes and directions to the Dropbox.

Rankin admits that some files end up out of order on the Dropbox. Viewing the program is also only available to students in the theater department. He would like to have that information become more available for anyone and get it on some sort of website, but lacks the time to do so.

The next tool that Rankin showed me was the theater department's web page, which serves not only as a means to advertise and communicate with the public, but also as an archive for all of the plays that Monmouth College has done. It is not connected to Dropbox. Rankin's predecessor had stored production photos and programs throughout his career at Monmouth College, so the school has access to records dating back to the early 1950's.

The plays are ordered chronologically on the website, and the newer plays have very thorough records of who was in the play, when it was, what it was about, etc. However, starting in about 2003, those in depth records ends. Rankin expressed that he would like to have more information posted on the plays, especially the ones dating far back, to put on the website. The school does not have all of the records, but it does have many, which are yet to be published electronically.

Technology has changed the face of the theater department for the better. Information is just a click away and communication is faster than ever. Dropbox eliminates the need to ask previous members, who may or may not be involved in theater anymore, how to make something work. The theater website serves as a record that anyone can look back to and see his or her old plays. That being said, Rankin sees a lot of room for improvement. If the trend of advancement continues as it has, it is only a matter of time before his goals are reached.


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