10 Questions with Karen Martin
Karen is spending her fall on the Coaster Theatre stage conducting seances and summoning spirits as Madame Arcati in our 45th Anniversary Season production of Blithe Spirit. She has been involved both on and off stage with the Coaster Theatre for many years. She first got involved behind the scenes when she joined the Programming Committee (a sub-committee of the Board of Directors responsible for selection the shows for each season) and served as a board member from 2005-2015. She caught the acting bug in 2011 when she auditioned and was cast in her first acting role at the Tillamook Barn Community Playhouse. She made her Coaster Theatre debut in 84, Charing Cross Road in May of 2013. Later that summer she appeared as Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest and was part of the cast of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile in 2015.
When not summoning the spirits as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, Karen is an author, researcher and instructor in family history. She also loves reading walking on the beach and traveling whenever possible.
1. What is your present state of mind?
I’m generally a happy person and my husband, Stewart, and I have had a great summer of travel to Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky in June and then England and Scotland in July and are heading to Ashland for 6 plays in 3 days. And I’m in this wonderful play with a great cast, so I’d say I’m pretty up right now.
2. Who are your favorite playwrights?
Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward, Aaron Sorkin, Tom Stoppard – the first two for their use of language and wit, Sorkin for his tight plotting and also his use of language. Stoppard is so amazingly funny; language, action and plots. I was reading a Stoppard script one day at lunch and actually laughed out loud in the restaurant.
3. Your favorite musician?
Who doesn’t love a great piano man – Art Tatum, Liberace, Billy Joel, Elton John
4. Who are your favorite characters?
I’ve been privileged to play three great women characters – Crotchety Mrs. Boyle in Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, prim and flighty Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest and now flamboyant Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit. I would love someday to play Eleanor of Aquataine in Lion in Winter.
5. Who are your heroes in real life?
Without a doubt, my Dad. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word. Though he passed when I was only a teenager, he had a profound effect on shaping my personality and his crazy sense of humor is a part of my life every day.
6. What natural gift would you most like to possess?
Photographic memory would make memorizing lines easier!
7. What is your most marked characteristic?
My persistence and, my friends tell me, my smile.
8. What do you most value in your friends?
The ability to listen and to give honest feedback.
9. If you could be anyone throughout history, who would you have been?
Elizabeth I – she had an amazingly difficult childhood, but persistence, intelligence and cunning made her one of the most successful monarchs of England and possibly the world.
10. What is your motto?
My daughter would say, “Everything happens for a reason” because we have so often said so through tragic moments in our lives. But I think Madame Arcati says it best, “Chin up, never give in, that’s my motto”.