We had the good fortune of connecting with Rhett Martinez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rhett, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I have a different relationship with risk now that I’m older. When I was a younger man, I idealized the concept of risk a bit too much. Back then, I often blurred the lines between artistic risk and real life risk, which was, shall we say, not always healthy. I came of age with a group of fellow actors, writers, directors, and artists of all kinds who embraced risk in the hopes that it would somehow infuse our work with some element of danger, or somehow charge it with electricity and excitement. And sometimes it worked. But now that I’m older–and have actually done the real work for over 30 years–I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with risk. Whenever I’m presented with an opportunity to work on something that is artistically risky or outside my comfort zone I often jump at the chance. Often, but not always. If I’m going to take a risk, if I’m going to carve out a lot of time from life, I’m only going to commit if it’s truly challenging and rewarding.
I no longer feel that I need to prove anything to anyone. That’s a remarkable place to find myself. I never expected to be here. Now that I am, I take great joy from embracing risk on my own terms. I also take great joy from doing good work well within my comfort zone. Maybe that’s really it. Maybe I just appreciate everything now more than ever. I spend a lot of my time being grateful for all I have.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ll brag about graduating from Boston University to anyone who’ll listen. I’m utterly shameless about it. Words cannot express how that program changed me as an artist and a man. I take great pride in my classical training and I still use it to this day as an actor, writer, and director. I also take great pride in my masters degree in directing from Brooklyn College. (Again, utterly shameless!) David Mamet once said that theatre education is a great thing for anyone who does NOT want to be a professional, but he’s completely wrong about that (among other things). I genuinely feel that my training is directly responsible for much of my success.
What I’m most excited about now is my next project, directing “Bob: A Life in Five Acts” for Firecracker Productions. The play is a wonderful, moving, wild, cinematic epic! It gives me the chance to work with great actors to find depth and dimension in a menagerie of characters. It’s a delicious script that immediately makes me smile just thinking about all the fun we’ll have bringing it to life and honoring Bob’s journey to be a great, great man.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Numbers night club on a Friday night is a must. Classic 80s night. If they can’t appreciate that, then we probably can’t be friends. Spanish Flowers Mexican Restaurant for good food.
Del Sol Taqueria for GREAT food. (Muy auténtico. So authentic it’s not for everyone.)
The Menil Collection and The Rothko Chapel
Second Ward and Eastwood to see what’s left of the old neighborhood that some people (not I) now call “EaDo.”
Take in a Rockets game, even if they’re not good. This year has been dicey.
Walk the esplanade along Heights Boulevard.
Walk the strip along Westheimer and Montrose.
End up at House of Pies (aka “House of Guys”) on Kirby, because that’s where all the best nights end up.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My life wouldn’t be the same without my amazing wife and producing partner, the incredibly talented actress, Sammi Sicinski. Together we founded Bulletproof Rep and over the years we’ve created some great work that we’re truly proud of here in our hometown of Houston and also in New York. I have to give eternal thanks to my friends at Gravity Players–Courtney Lomelo, Patricia Duran Hays, Luis Galindo, and James Belcher–because my career as an actor here in Houston really changed after they invited me to be part of “Motherf**ker with the Hat” at Obsidian Theatre. I am so grateful to have worked with the divine Jennifer Decker at Mildred’s Umbrella and I am truly honored that she recently asked Sammi and I to join her advisory board. Rebecca Udden at Main Street Theater has given me some of the greatest opportunities I’ve ever had as an actor and I can never thank her enough. Before Dianne K Webb moved to Portland, Maine, she allowed me to be part of some incredible collaborations with Next Iteration Ensemble–talk about risk-taking and working outside your comfort zone!–and for that I’ll love her forever. I’m so thankful to Sammy McManus and Firecracker Productions for the chance to direct their upcoming production of “Bob: A Life in Five Acts” and I hope I rise to the challenge. The list goes on, but I’ll spare you. I’m a very lucky man.