Joe Martin

Joe Martin

Playwright, novelist and theatre director, Joe Martin's
works comprise an international and experimental
exploration into the border regions between the spiritual
cosmos and the cultural-political world.

He is the recipient of various grants and awards as a
writer and director, including a Fulbright Senior
Fellowship in Theatre, and grants from the...
Playwright, novelist and theatre director, Joe Martin's
works comprise an international and experimental
exploration into the border regions between the spiritual
cosmos and the cultural-political world.

He is the recipient of various grants and awards as a
writer and director, including a Fulbright Senior
Fellowship in Theatre, and grants from the Rockefeller
Foundation, the American Scandinavian Foundation, the
DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, among
others. In 2002 Martin was selected to serve on the roster
of Senior Fulbright Senior Specialists, as a theatre artist
in Eastern Europe. He was reappointed in 2011, for work
in the Middle East.

Also active as a translator of drama from Swedish,
Norwegian and Spanish, he has translated many works of
August Strindberg, as well as Jens Bjorneboe, and Juan
Tovar.

A director and dramaturg of over fifty stage productions
in the US, Canada and Europe, his choices have included
both originals and classic works: The Ghost Sonata
(Washington 1988), Parabola: Tales of the Wise and the
Idiots (Washington, 1990), Anatole's Lover (Washington
1991), Woyzeck (1993), The Match Girl's SNOW QUEEN
(Washington 1995), Three Plays by Brecht: The
Wedding/The Chalk Cross/The Beggar (with Zeljko
Djukic, 1997), Rumi's MATHNAVI (Washington and New
York, 1998-2001), and Jose Rivera's Marisol (Bucharest,
2002).

Senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts and Studies,
Johns Hopkins University; taught Creative Writing for 8 years
at George Washington University. Fulbright scholar in Romania
2000-2001; Fulbright Specialist in Theatre, Romania 2001,
Jerusalem and Palestine 2011 and Bethlehem 2014.

Plays

  • THE SECRET OF THE IBERIAN PIG
    THE SECRET OF THE IBERIAN PIG: A Play by Joe Martin
    Synopsis

    Aspen and Matt, are not only engaged to be married, they are pursuing their a medical residency together in regenerative medicine—the pioneering field of growing new tissue and organs They are virtually living under the fluorescent lights of the medical center and Residents’ Den. The regular stresses of their 80-hour work-week...
    THE SECRET OF THE IBERIAN PIG: A Play by Joe Martin
    Synopsis

    Aspen and Matt, are not only engaged to be married, they are pursuing their a medical residency together in regenerative medicine—the pioneering field of growing new tissue and organs They are virtually living under the fluorescent lights of the medical center and Residents’ Den. The regular stresses of their 80-hour work-week are compounded by other problems. Aspen has been resisting meeting Matt’s mother Jude, who has been descending deeper into dementia and doesn’t recognize her own son or her husband.

    Rachel, the director of research at the center, has perceived the stresses engulfing the pair. She invites them out to a five-star Spanish restaurant, and during dinner offers to arrange for Matt’s mother to be the first patient to undergo a trial surgical procedure that eliminates has restored memory and cognition in some patients. Everyone at dinner becomes obsessed by the name of a mysterious Catalonian dish they notice on the menu: but do not succeed in finding out what it is.

    Rachel’s partner, a premium insurance executive from Texas, is also at the dinner, but is not aware that Rachel will later ask that his company design a special insurance coverage for the expensive procedure for Matt’s mother. Never one to miss a out on a quid-pro-quo in business or relationships, Coleman asks for Rachel to help him procure a heart for a transplant for his nephew, who has run out of options.

    In ensuing scenes at the medical center, Matt’s ambition keeps him grounded while Aspen, is clearly feeling increasingly unmoored. A committed physician and research nerd like Matt, she is nevertheless spending her breaks and time off trying to center herself, using doing Rubik’s-cubes, cats-cradles, and exploring on breathing techniques. She eventually finds herself dancing with a futuristic perambulator with compartments for living organs available for transplant—a kind of being that comes to life while she sings pop songs about the malady of love.

    Rachel is unable to move swiftly enough to find a heart for Coleman’s nephew using normal protocols, so he takes matters into his own hands and tries to abscond with a heart in storage on a private plane. Rachel and Aspen try to intercede and grapple with him. Things appear to be crashing down for everyone.

    Rachel decides to assign Aspen to do a home-visit to evaluate Jude’s recovery. As the fog is lifting for Jude, she is able to determine who Aspen is and gives her direct and sober advice on what to do with her life.

    Returning to the same restaurant as in the opening scenes, the group tries determine the nature of the mysterious entrée that they had noticed on the menu during their first visit.
  • UNREAL ESTATE
    Synopsis:

    UNREAL ESTATE: A Play by Joe Martin (1 hour 40 minutes.)

    Gordon Robbins, is an American who has been located by a financial firm in Europe as a potential heir to a mysterious estate left by a relative he did not know. Due to complications with the estate, left in cash in which all the bills have been marked—he has come to the Netherlands to collaborate on the treatment...
    Synopsis:

    UNREAL ESTATE: A Play by Joe Martin (1 hour 40 minutes.)

    Gordon Robbins, is an American who has been located by a financial firm in Europe as a potential heir to a mysterious estate left by a relative he did not know. Due to complications with the estate, left in cash in which all the bills have been marked—he has come to the Netherlands to collaborate on the treatment and collection of the funds. The bank officer working on his case, a white Nigerian named Edwards Owen, is assisted by his Black Brit consultant Robert Billings and their IT accounting “genius” Maya Ooman.

    As Gordon becomes more suspicious of Virgin Isle Banking and Properties, he becomes increasingly engaged by Ms Ooman who is given responsibility for getting him from place to place during his stay. His suspicions are confirmed when Maya reveals her real reasons for taking a job to work for the firm. She is not truly there as an employee. With a new ally and what he thinks is a better understanding of this firm, Gordon’s alliance with Maya becomes personal, and he believes he can trip up the company due to his new information. But each time he thinks he has the right interpretation of what is going on, a new possible interpretation arises. He is walking into a labyrinth more complex than Amsterdam’s canals.

    CAST LIST
    HAROLD RICHARDS OWEN (or “Owen”): Director of Virgin Isle Bank. White, with an British accent. 48.
    ROBERT: Bank officer, Virgin Isle Bank, black, OxBridge accent 38
    MAYA: IT and Accounting administrator. Dutch woman. 28
    GORDON: American, white, Jeans, sports jacket. 40

    Most recent script draft. July 2017
  • Rumi's MATHNAVI
    In the Anatolian city of Konya, a Sufi master, Husamuddin Chelebi, initiates a young woman into the order of the famed poet and Sufi master Rumi. Together they open the book of the Mathnavi, Rumi's great storehouse of spiritual teachings and parables, and bring the various stories to life, with the help of a circle of dervishes in the performance space. Rumi's path is as harrowing as it is...
    In the Anatolian city of Konya, a Sufi master, Husamuddin Chelebi, initiates a young woman into the order of the famed poet and Sufi master Rumi. Together they open the book of the Mathnavi, Rumi's great storehouse of spiritual teachings and parables, and bring the various stories to life, with the help of a circle of dervishes in the performance space. Rumi's path is as harrowing as it is delightful, and as humorous as it is mystical and lyrical. In most of the parables, nothing is as it seems: there is always a hidden reality that bypasses us if we remain unawakened.

    As the "seeker" advances through the teaching tales, and finds herself perplexed, Husamuddin draws out the most challenging of all which suggests, that to ascend on the ladder of consciousness, one must abandon oneself.

    The play has been produced in various incarnations: beginning with a "readers theatre" with live musicians (Persian or Indian), eventually and minimalist productions, and a touring "Theatre for Peace" production in the US, to encourage discussion of Rumi's use of Abrahamic prophets and the similarities of the Sufism and Islam of Rumi with the mystic traditions of many religions.

    Selection below.
    Link to purchase published version: http://www.leapingdogpress.com/drama/martin-j-rumis-mathnavi/
  • Strindberg's A DREAM PLAY
    The daughter of the Indian god Indra descends to earth to try to understand what all the complaints of suffering are about. She lives a lifetime among the beings there -- and sees life through the deluded eyes and minds of many that she meets. Her journey is not an easy one.

    This play emerges from Strindberg's encounters with the literature of Vedanta, and the form he created to get it...
    The daughter of the Indian god Indra descends to earth to try to understand what all the complaints of suffering are about. She lives a lifetime among the beings there -- and sees life through the deluded eyes and minds of many that she meets. Her journey is not an easy one.

    This play emerges from Strindberg's encounters with the literature of Vedanta, and the form he created to get it across revolutionized theatre forever. It is transformational theatre for a large cast working with a unified set. This version restores Strindberg's "scoring" of the script in the spirit of music -- which is divided into beats of action, and utilizes double and triple dashes as an aid to actors.
  • FAITH
    In a major American city, leaders of two Christian relief agencies, John B and Christiane, attending an interfaith conference on foreign assistance, encounter a disoriented young Jewish woman, Dara, just off the plane from the Holy Land on the street. Christiane offers to put the young woman, Dara, up in her hotel room. There is, however, a long simmering conflict between the John, a Protestant and Christiane,...
    In a major American city, leaders of two Christian relief agencies, John B and Christiane, attending an interfaith conference on foreign assistance, encounter a disoriented young Jewish woman, Dara, just off the plane from the Holy Land on the street. Christiane offers to put the young woman, Dara, up in her hotel room. There is, however, a long simmering conflict between the John, a Protestant and Christiane, a Catholic—which goes far deeper than their religious differences.

    A Central Asian hat and rug salesman on the street corner—Saadi—tries to get involved to make peace. The conflict seems to have a negative effect on the Dara, who invites Saadi for tea at a cafe on the corner, as she intuitively, feels more at ease with someone from the Middle East than the black comedy of the bickering American missionaries. Ultimately however, to deal with their peculiar ongoing conflict, Christiane and John B. ask Dara be a sounding board and an "outside ear" to hear both sides of their personal conflicts.

    When the old source of their antagonism comes out, Dara offers some opinions. She is savagely rebuked by the other two who turn on her as an outsider who can’t know the history of their conflict. This sets off an inner firestorm for Dara. Saadi tries to penetrate her problem, and Dara reveals that she has lived through an uprising in the Holy Land, and is torn by divided loyalties.

    In Christiane’s hotel room, Dara meets her roommate Haneen, an Arab woman from Palestine. A strange sort of communion begins. The next morning, Dara finds herself further divided than ever—and thus torn in two emotionally, she attempts in her delirium to cut herself apart physically. However, Haneen has offered Dara an invitation that might provide a way out.

  • SOUNDWAVES: The Passion of Noor Inayat Khan
    A Play by Joe Martin

    First produced at the NYC International Fringe Festival 2014 Forthcoming EnActe Arts, Oalkland CA 2016.
    Requirements: 6 male and 4 female actors – with multiple casting.
    Set: empty space staging, projections, mobile set pieces. Run time: 1hour 55.
    _______________

    Noor Inayat Khan is the spiritually and culturally refined daughter of Inayat...
    A Play by Joe Martin

    First produced at the NYC International Fringe Festival 2014 Forthcoming EnActe Arts, Oalkland CA 2016.
    Requirements: 6 male and 4 female actors – with multiple casting.
    Set: empty space staging, projections, mobile set pieces. Run time: 1hour 55.
    _______________

    Noor Inayat Khan is the spiritually and culturally refined daughter of Inayat Khan, who first brought Indian music to the West, and was the first to set up an eastern mystical order in the West as well. Resettled in France from England, Noor has become a successful children’s author, and a classical harp and Indian vina player. Her relationship with a Jewish concert pianist, a refugee from fascism, who threatens suicide obsessively has put immense pressure on her. It has also made her aware of things that many in Europe are not thinking about in the 1930s. Committed to Gandhi’s nonviolent movement to oppose British rule in India – when the Nazis enter Poland she returns to England to be recruited by the SOE – the massive wartime agency taking over European surveillance from MI6.

    Her innocence and inability to lie are a problem as her handler, a British author and screenwriter discovers. But her mindfulness and ability to move through risky situations like a fish in water are great assets. As the Nazis expend all efforts to close in on the mysterious radio code broadcaster “Madeleine” –the last surviving one in touch with British Intelligence in Paris – Noor continues to pass through a labyrinth of betrayals and escapes working among the French Resistance: a path that helped lead to the liberation of Europe, but also her own final stop in Dachau.

    Soundwaves is a story of how mental and spiritual subtlety in an Anglo-Indian woman of Islamic heritage could help defeat a brutal war machine without once lifting a weapon; who would be given France’s Croix de guerre and Britain’s highest honor for heroism, the “Royal George Cross.”—becoming a saint among Sufis.