New Delta drama adjunct bit of a Renaissance man

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Austin Tichenor (left), Reed Martin (center), and Matt Rippy in costume for a performance of the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s “The Complete World of Sports (Abridged).” COURTESY PHOTO

Director. Performer. Writer. Educator. Former clown and former understudy Ringmaster with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Reed Martin is a man of many skills. 

Martin is best known for his work with the Reduced Shakespeare Company, a three-person show  taking typically long and boring topics and cutting them down into short and clever comedies. He has performed all over the world in places such as the White House, Madison Square Garden, London’s West End and the Old Globe Theatre.

Martin studied at U.C. Berkeley, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and the Dramatic Arts. He then went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from U.C. San Diego. 

From there he joined the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College to work on the physical aspect of comedy.

After a stint touring with Ringling Brothers, Martin joined the Reduced Shakespeare company full time. It was during this time he began teaching the art of comedy and improv in the form of hosting workshops and master classes. 

“Theatre teaches life skills useful in any endeavor. It teaches you public speaking, time management, creative problem solving, and organized team building,” Martin explained.  “I believe everyone should take at least one drama class.”

Martin joined the Delta College staff as an adjunct professor this Fall, continuing to instruct students in the art of improv and performing in his classes Drama 6A and 6B, Improvisational Theatre I and II. He is also directing and assisting students in creating this year’s Repertory Workshop piece. 

Longtime Delta drama student Caleb Jynes describes Martin’s teaching as “unique.”

“He uses a different style. He goes deeper and it’s a good different,” said Jynes

It is vital in any drama class that students feel comfortable and safe in order for them to take creative risks and properly hone their skills. This is especially relevant in an improv course where the first rule of improv is to never deny your scene partner or given circumstances.

“This is my first time taking an improv class,” student Alvaro Hernandez said. “He made sure we were all comfortable in our environment by having us meet and get to know everyone. He has created a really safe space.” 

Martin is also bringing a new approach to this year’s Repertory Workshop show by making it a “Devised Theatre Piece” meaning there’s no script and the students are in charge of creating the show.

“As an actor, to realize we can create our own shows is freeing,” Martin said.

This isn’t the first piece of devised theatre he has helped create and direct. 

In 2015 Martin put on a similarly styled show in Napa Valley called “Improv Zombies from Hell.” If the glorious title is any indication of the show, Delta’s is in good hands.