Tori Thompson is a stage manager and member of New Century Theatre Company. Most recently she worked on Crimes of the Heart with Village Theatre, A Christmas Carol with ACT Theatre, and Festen with NCTC. She’s also worked in various stage management positions with Book-It, 5th Avenue, On the Boards, and Washington Ensemble Theatre. In May she’ll be stage managing Romeo & Juliet directed by Vanessa Miller for Seattle Shakes. Thompson joined me for this week’s installment of Five Friday Questions.
What’s the best performance you’ve seen lately?
I am sad to say that I haven’t caught many of the shows in town recently, partly due to just finishing up working along performance run. I am planning to see a few shows this next week, which I am looking forward to!
I saw Spotlight a few months ago, and it has really stuck with me. I walked into the theater not knowing anything about the film and walked out feeling deeply affected. I had this visceral, gut reaction, which is somewhat rare for me. There wasn’t some stand out performance for me, it was more that the story felt so interesting and important and I felt that the production and the performances all seemed to serve the story.
What’s the best meal in Seattle?
I love trying new restaurants and am always on the lookout for the elusive “best” meal in Seattle. Whether or not it is the best meal in the entire city, I don’t know, but one of my favorite places to go is Citizen in Lower Queen Anne. It is in my neighborhood, I love the ambience, the servers are nice, and they have these delicious breakfast tacos. If my partner and I have a morning off together, we love spending it there.
What music gets you pumped up? What do you listen to when you’re sad?
I don’t listen to a ton of music so my music knowledge and tastes are somewhat limited. I have, however, gotten hooked on the Hamilton soundtrack. I love hearing the story and the characters develop, and the music is just so good! I’ve been listening to it for the past few months and it still gets me pumped up.
When I’m sad, one of my favorites bands to listen to is Bon Iver. So lovely.
What’s the most crucial element of any production?
I am going to cheat a little and say two things: story and collaboration. It starts with finding a story you feel is worth telling. And then having group of people come at that story bringing different ideas, talents and worldviews and working together to create one focused vision, that’s where great productions are born.
What’s the most useful thing anyone’s ever taught you about working in theatre?
A friend of mine gave me this advice in regards to personal relationships and I think it is really useful to theatre too: assume good intent. Theatre can be challenging. You have a group of passionate, often strong-willed individuals who are learning to work together. Stressors and emotions are high and sometimes conflicts arise. I think that if I can try to assume the best of people and see their good intentions, the process is so much easier. It’s more enjoyable and I can be more effective and helpful. I think that usually everyone involved in a production is ultimately fighting for the same thing: to make the best art we can, to tell this story the best way possible, even when it feels conflicting. Keeping that in mind is key for me.