PCS Blog

Mark Tynan: The Oscars and the Philosophy of a Stage Manager

Posted by Alice Hodge | 03 March 2014

Production Stage Manager Mark Tynan gets philosophical, and maybe a little gushy, while watching the Oscars Sunday night.

I’m watching the Oscars, and feeling so grateful. I do theatre, and have done for 30 years, give or take, and the Oscars are about movies, but both are about  teams of people that come together to make something incredible.
I have the honor of welcoming a new equity stage manager to the collaboration of people that make theatre happen. I also watch the Oscars tonight and am reaffirmed that it takes a village — sometimes large, sometime small  to make an event happen. In the theatre, it’s a run; in film, it’s a movie.
I welcomed a new equity stage manager under my watch, and I feel the responsibility to pass on everything I know,  all the passion I have, all the expectations I have, all the responsibility I feel, all the people I want to make proud, from my family to my audience, to the artistic staff,  to my board, all who willingly or not so willingly takes a leap of faith to underwrite dreams, research, faith, and passion.
I look at the newest member of the Equity stage manager family, whose task it is to “maintain the artistic integrity of the show” and think, "what does that mean?"  I try to pass on pearls of wisdom and see a respectful, if somewhat impatient, duty in her eyes.  How can it be otherwise?  I’m grateful she doesn’t dismiss me for a generation that has passed, she respects me for what I have gone through, but how can she know, eyes that have yet to see what I’ve gone through and what I’ve seen?
I hope the best for her, know that she has good solid ground underneath her,  she has a great support team around her.
I have had the pleasure to work with many production assistants through the years (my right hand always), all people who were smarter than me, younger than me, more curious about the future than me, some that have gone on to become stage managers, others who have pursued other passions.  I see all of them in her eyes and wish her the best.
I want to protect her, but know that she has to experience all the highs and lows of this business has to offer, and hope that she has the foundation to weather the storms she will inevitably endure.  Stage managers get to “suffer fools glady”, and expect artistic perfection daily.  We get to (hopefully) provide an atmosphere that encourage actors and production staff to do their best every performance, the audience gets to win, right?
Sometimes it’s fulfilling and fun, sometimes it’s confusing, sometimes it’s defeating, sometimes it’s killing, many times it leaves you humbled by what you get to witness in front of you eight times a week.
I see her young eyes give me the respect due, but are a little impatient to get to her next task.  I chuckle at what she’s getting herself into, and want the best for her.  She can’t know the amount of support she has behind her, from the cast, to the staff, to the board, to the playwright, to the company behind her.
As I say instinctively before I start every performance, let’s see what happens (fully expecting the best because I have the best people around me), and as I say to start every scene in tech rehearsal, have at it, (rather than “go”, because I have a phobia bout saying “go” without a number or letter attached to it.)  As I say to her, "Break a Leg!!!"


Equity Stage Manager Mark Tynan has been with PCS since the spring of 2002. Prior to PCS, Mark toured nationally and internationally with musicals including DreamgirlsThe King and I with Rudolf Nureyev, How to Succeed…Grand HotelThe Phantom of the Opera and Rent. Other Portland credits include several summers with The Broadway Rose Theatre Company in Tigard. Regional credits include The Alley Theatre (Houston, TX), La Jolla Playhouse (La Jolla, CA) and Casa Mañana Theatre (Fort Worth, TX).


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