Interview of the week: acclaimed TeamTheatre Resident Director, Adam Martin.
The first time I watched his work was when he directed a production of “Really Really” with Wrong House Theatre in 2017. I immediately became a fan. After that, I have been following his artistic steps and I haven’t been let down not even in the slightest. Since 2017, he has been involved in multiple award winning productions with TeamTheatre among which “The Sun Tries Dating” in 2018 and “Almost, Maine” in 2019. Adam Martin is truly one of the brightest directors right now in the US and I am very lucky for this interview where we talk about theatre, his projects and his views on directing.
Thank you for agreeing to meet me online for this interview. I know you are currently very busy!
Your work has been recognized multiple times in acclaimed venues such as the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in the heart of New York City. Specifically, Team Theatre’s production of the “The Sun Tries Dating” which you co-directed was selected as Best Show for 2018. Could you tell us more about the journey that led to this success?
This production was a success due to the fortunate combination of actors we were lucky enough to have worked with, as well as the director, Gwendolyn Snow. The director was very clear that she wanted to lean into farce for this production as it would highlight the absurdness of the script. This is a large demand on the actors in terms of their technical abilities within physical work and voice and speech, and most of all precision of line delivery and focus. Our talented actress Chrysi Sylaidi led the rest of the cast and pulled it off with incredible skill making this show a one of a kind experience and success.
“The Sun Tries Dating”, was a laugh out loud comedy based on relationship problems. What do you think is the key that makes a comedy actually funny?
Truth. No matter how “large” or farcical the comedy goes, it is always the truth in comedy that resounds in an audience as to the reason why they are laughing. It is always about knowing what the comedic device is, but not leaning or relying on it. It is important for the actors to really be in the shoes of their characters and take everything 100% seriously as if it is life and death.
Last December, again through TeamTheatre, you assistant directed the incredible production of the American classic: Almost, Maine by John Cariani which I was very fortunate to find a ticket for even though all of your shows were sold out. What made you accept the initial proposal?
Almost, Maine was a play I had always wanted to work on and it was actually on my bucket list of plays. However, what excited me the most was getting to work with such a diverse cast from all over the world and to be able to bring them together in a story that is traditionally very stereotypically white.
What was it like directing such a big cast?
It posed a natural challenge that comes with every play that requires many actors which is making sure everyone is playing in the same world. Essentially it consisted of keeping myself in check in regards to if I let one actor go too far in one direction will it appear disproportionate to the rest of the cast and therefore be distracting and unnecessary? So, I suppose it really just demands more from myself and the director in terms of making sure everything feels of the world we are in and true to the story we are telling.
Is there something from this production that stood out for you the most?
I had a blast working on the play with starring actress Chrysi Sylaidi. The whole show is extremely physical and requires a certain stamina in order to maintain the high energy and stakes of the scenes as they progress and as the characters rapidly learn more from one another. In particular, the way in which Chrysi Sylaidi - in her role Rhonda - explored the nuances of her complex emotions towards her partner Kenneth Shook I think rang incredibly true for the audience every night. I always enjoyed watching their reactions to her performance leading to a magical finale, where they see a wonderful celebration of true love. She was very sweet and unbelievably funny. Chrysi really nailed her performances and the shows success was a testament to that.
Are there any plans for your future collaboration with Team Theatre?
I am very excited about working more with Chrysi Sylaidi as Olivia in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. I find the role of Olivia to be not only one of the most fleshed out female characters within Shakespeare’s plays, but also one that really demands an actress who has a true command of the language and is not afraid to take risks. Olivia’s journey starts as a drab one, and at first glance she may appear as a one-sided character; however, once her passion has been ignited she really soars and in a way drives the play forward more than any of the other characters. Hopefully this is a production we can produce for our 2021 season, but due to the current pandemic we may need to delay it until our 2022 season.
A big thank you to Adam Martin for this conversation. I can’t wait to see his and TeamTheatre’s next steps. To learn more about Adam Martin and TeamTheatre LLC, follow them on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/TeamTheatreLLC/