The necessity of anticipation

Production Manager Logan Thomas chats about the challenges of being a part of  “a production that really shines.”

Logan Thomas, Third Avenue Playhouse

Published 11:03 p.m. CT Aug. 14, 2017

A cast of eight actors (and one very talented music director who often shares the stage) is a bit of an undertaking for our humble yet bighearted playhouse here on Third Avenue.

Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” is usually performed with a sizable chorus and orchestra, so a production with nine performers is probably the smallest this show could possibly be. Our amazing co-artistic director James Valcq has somehow made the impossible happen in every show I’ve worked on with him.

This cast size would be pretty modest for many theaters but, in comparison, TAP’s last show (“Red” by John Logan) had only two actors and our upcoming production, “Every Brilliant Thing,” has no one but the very talented Dan Klarer on stage (not that he couldn’t fill a stadium with his charm alone).

As for “Candide,” nine moving bodies can be a bit of a shock if you aren’t used to it. Have them start singing and busting out musical instruments and you have another set of challenges on your hands.

 I have been with Third Avenue Playhouse since this past September and the largest cast we’ve had before “Candide” was “True West” — four actors. More than doubling the amount of performers in a production seemed a bit daunting.

Luckily our staff here at TAP includes some remarkable people to ease the stress, not to mention the truly lovely and talented performers in this unique musical/opera/operetta. Having more people to account for is (as is much of the production side of theater) about learning to anticipate needs before they arise so that the actors will not have to.

When acting in high school and college, I would occasionally get the note that I was anticipating a moment, that you could tell I was just waiting for my turn to speak rather than letting it come naturally with the flow and reality of the scene. It is important when acting to try to stay in the moment of a scene, so that your feelings and actions look natural rather than wooden. For an actor, anticipation is a dangerous thing, but for a production staff member, it is a necessity.