In this episode of The Changed Podcast, professional performer and teaching artist Marilet Martinez shares her thoughts on the relationship between the arts and activism, maintaining flexibility in our thinking, and coming of age!
Born and raised in San Francisco, Marilet Martinez describes herself as a queer, bilingual, multi-hyphenated artist, Leo Sun/ Scorpio rising, bruja homegirl.
She prioritizes collaborations that practice intersectionality and community empowerment.
As a trauma-informed, student-centered teaching artist, she has developed national programing for community wellness through arts intervention for over 15 years, and her Bay Area acting credits include originating roles in over 10 world premieres with envelope-pushing companies such as Magic Theatre, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Crowded Fire, Cutting Ball, Impact Theatre and more. She performed with Leela Improv’s faculty team- the Armando Company, the all-female Harold team Sorry Not Sorry, and her duo, Pura Pocha.
More recently Marilet (who has relocated to Chicago) is ¼ of the award-winning all Latina improv and sketch team Ratas De Dos Patas. These hermanas del improv have performed and taught workshops across the US, spreading their message of comedy, cultura, y corazon; which is how we met, at the San Francisco Femproviser Fest where we were both faculty members.
She is also an ensemble member at ComedySportz Chicago!
In this episode, she had thoughts, stories, and anecdotes to share on everything from the beauty of creating a better world through activism, how the Arts can shift and change people to be more inspired in their own creativity or to think differently about the world around them, and so much more.
In choosing a story to share from a fork in the road moment in her life, Marilet Martinez chose the quite literal fork in the road of turning 18! This of course makes it hard to ask the question, what if that had never happened… but it helped to illustrate the simple beauty of getting excited about the unknown and embracing what is possible instead of worrying about what is not.
Takeaways from this episode
Two things can be true at the same time. This theme came up several times:
- Activism is a celebration and a rebellion. An excellent quote from this episode from Marilet, “If it’s all rebellion all the time, that’s a burnout. If it’s all celebration all the time: that’s a pass-out”
- Change is easy and change is hard. Even having a ‘positive mindset’ won’t necessarily take the difficulty away but perhaps make it feel less damaging
- Improvisers who practice flexibility on stage can actually be quite rigid in “real life” and often worry about not doing improv right!
- Feelings are complicated. You can feel grief and joy at the same time. You can feel fear and excitement at the same time. You can feel sad and find things funny at the same time.
- Every day is the same. Every day is completely different.
As young people, we are taught that things are black and white, but actually so much is actually grey. As Marilet Martinez says, “life happens in the grey areas“
If you want helpful mantras to help you cope with change that is dropped on your head we identified a few that may or may not have come from Weight Watchers (and may or may not be helpful, depending on context)
- “That just happened”
- “It’s just new information”‘
The book that Marilet recommends? In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Marchada, a memoir of entering into, living through, and then leaving an abusive relationship.
Marilet Martinez is a performer… AND you can watch her shows online!
- Checkout Marilet Martinez’s Ratas De Dos Patas here: https://www.facebook.com/RatasDe2Patas/
- Catch a CSz Chicago show here: https://www.twitch.tv/csznchicago
If you’re interested in checking out some of the improv and play centered guests from last season, you might start with episode 7 with Head of Story on The Mitchells vs the Machines, Guillermo Martinez, episode 8 with 12 Monkeys Actor Todd Stashwick, or episode 11 with Improv On and Off the Stage‘s Shannon Stott.
The “get excited about something” challenge
Marilet is a trauma-informed educator, and in choosing a story to share, brought us the story of the day she turned 18. This story serves as a reflection on truly owning and believing that the future of our dreams is within our control and is worthy of our excitement.
AND… I found it to be super inspiring. SO, I’m giving myself the challenge to see if I can tap into the excitement of my naive youth. To find a moment to tell myself something exciting is about to happen. To walk down the street knowing that everyone is impressed that I tied my shoes…. and just see what happens to the rest of my thoughts as a result.
- I invite you to join me in this challenge and as always to share your thoughts as they show up!