Monday, March 8, 2010

ON THE SPOT with Reed Martin

Reed Martin, one of three actors in THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (abridged) [revised] spent some time answering questions from us at the New Vic. Read on to find out where he grew up, his favorite hobbies and which Shakespearean heroine he wants for his lady love! (photo courtesy of Reduced Shakespeare)

New Victory: Where did you grow up?
Reed Martin: I was raised - and still live - in Sonoma, California which is about an hour north of San Francisco.

NV: Most memorable theatrical experience as a spectator?
RM: I saw a new vaudeville production of The Comedy of Errors at Lincoln Center in 1987 that featured the Flying Karamazov Brothers and Avner the Eccentric that I found inspiring. And I was very moved early on in my career when I saw The Elephant Man at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco in 1980 that featured Ken Ruta and Philip Anglim.

NV: Most memorable theatrical experience as a performer?
RM: It's tough to narrow it down to a single experience. Performing in London's West End for a year in 1992-1993 (and several other times both before and since) was an unforgettable experience. And performing an excerpt from The Complete History of America (abridged) at the White House would also have to be right up there.

NV: Favorite local tradition?
RM: My favorite traditions all have to do with living in a small town - walking the kids to school, knowing almost everyone in town, July 4th hometown parade and fireworks. That sort of thing.

NV: Favorite local food?
RM: There's a pizza place in town- Mary's Pizza Shack - that opened the year I was born and a Mary's Combo Pizza is the first thing I order when I get home after having been on tour for awhile.

NV: When you travel, what do you miss most about home?
RM: My family.

NV: Favorite local haunt?
RM: The Sonoma Plaza. General Mariano Vallejo laid out the town of Sonoma in the early 1800's and included a large plaza right in the middle of town. To this day it's the heart of Sonoma.

NV: Favorite saying or slang term?

RM: A quote from Groucho Marx: "Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend. And inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."

NV: Favorite family activity?
RM: Family movie nights at home.

NV: If you weren't a performer, what would you want to do with your life?
RM: I'm a writer as well as a performer, so I would continue to write even if I wasn't performing. I also teach college theater courses, so I'd do that as well. But what I really want to be is the first baseman for the San Francisco Giants.

NV: If you had to live the rest of your life as one of Shakespeare’s male leads, who would it be and why?
RM: Well, it definitely wouldn't be one of the title characters from a Shakespearean tragedy because they all die at the end. It might be fun to be Sir John Falstaff from Merry Wives of Windsor because he has a real joie de vivre (joy of living).

NV: If you could date one of Shakespeare’s female characters, who would it be and why?
RM: Kate from The Taming of the Shrew. I admire strong women.

UPDATE SEPT 2011: Reed and the rest of Reduced Shakespeare Company return to The New Victory Theater in October 2011 with new show The Complete World of Sports [abridged]

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