Martin de Maat

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No one will ever follow you down the street if you're carrying a banner that says, "Onward toward mediocrity."

Martin de Maat (12 January 1949 - 15 February 2001) was an improvisational comedy teacher and artistic director at The Second City.

Quotes[edit]

  • You are pure potential.
    • Sign quoting de Maat near the entrance of The Second City Training Center
  • The Hokey Pokey. Think about it. At the end of the song, what do we learn? What is it all about?... You put your whole self in!
    • As quoted in "Community Mourns the Death of Martin de Maat" by Lisa Lewis (2 March 2001)
  • You do not have the right to use this art form to feel inferior.

A Conversation with Martin de Maat (1998)[edit]

Interview in The Monthly Aspectarian (August 1998)
The beginning of this work is just how to get people to remember how to play, to be in play. Once you're in play, you're in the moment. You're not judgmental, you're enjoying each other, you're accepting of everything that goes on...
  • The base of the work is one of individuals believing in themselves, trusting themselves in the moment and being accepting of themselves and the people around them. In order to improvise in front of an audience, you have to be accepting, involved in the moment and courageous. Those issues, when transferred over to general communication, makes the communication richer and helps in all areas of life.
  • The beginning of this work is just how to get people to remember how to play, to be in play. Once you're in play, you're in the moment. You're not judgmental, you're enjoying each other, you're accepting of everything that goes on; you're trusting yourself and just doing the game as best as you can. Your critical mind is gone, your analytical mind is not involved. Really, it's just the flow that goes on between human beings, the group the power of the ensemble.
    As with any ensemble, it is the team effort or the group effort that makes the individual grow or look good. That's what the center of this work is all about, what these games and exercises are all about . . . breaking down barriers between people, empowering the individual to believe in their own associations and ideas, uncovering the courage to create, the courage to communicate.
  • You know what intimacy is? It's into-me-you-see... it's allowing someone to know who you are when you have all these defenses to keep them from knowing.
  • Each of us is unique, and if we don't respect that uniqueness, if we don't allow that which we are to surface, then the world doesn't have it.
  • No one will ever follow you down the street if you're carrying a banner that says, "Onward toward mediocrity."
  • What happens in the ensemble work is that in a cooperative work, the power of communication in being with each other in acceptance and "yes, and"-ing each other, is that you as an individual start to believe in yourself because you begin to see yourself in the others' eyes. Your ensemble, your group, your team, your committee, is the one that's believing in you and you pull it together to do it for them. You know, it's simply recognizing you're not alone. I'm way out in theory here; it's the study of what the power is, the power in improvisation and why it changes lives.... I'm crazy about it, and that's why I've dedicated my life to the study of it. The power is love, if you want to know the truth. It's love and unconditional acceptance. You put yourself in a place of support, unconditional acceptance and love for who you are, the way you are and your uniqueness, and what you do is grow. You surround yourself with people who are truly interested in you and listen to you, and you will grow. And it doesn't take much to start advancing you, it doesn't take much of that support, it doesn't take much of that love and that care and you can do it. You can play act with people. You can be in a state of play together.
  • There's a lot of laughter that goes on. Since we're laughing together, we're true community. It's a very safe place to confront your fears. The minute somebody says, "Perform!" your fear comes up...
  • I think many of us go through our life not fully having permission to be who we are and what we're going to become. Most of us are often looking for approval. We hate it when we're not approved of. It's that approval that has us in our minds worrying about what we're doing as we're doing it, trying to figure out whether or not it's appropriate or will be accepted. We walk through our lives like we're on our first date. Trying to see if we're appropriate and trying not to step on other peoples' toes . . . you know, cautiously, prophylactically, for fear of not being approved of. In this work, there's only approval.

The Mysterious Martin de Maat (2001)[edit]

Article in the Chicago Reader (23 February 2001)
  • I am giving you permission to succeed.
  • You don't have permission to disrespect yourself.
  • I don't give you permission to fail.
  • You have the right to follow your dreams. I'm giving you permission to follow your dreams.

Quotes about de Maat[edit]

  • In the often unkind world of "the business," where a true friend is hard to come by, he’ll be impossible to replace. A bruised ego or shattered dream found refuge in de Maat’s gangly embrace, and found genuine affirmation in his Cheshire smile and often glass-shattering laughter. Everyone — literally everyone — was deserving, unique and special in his eyes, and everyone who wanted to play got at least one, if not one hundred, turns at bat. He believed wholeheartedly in the work’s ability to heal, to nurture, and to save your ever lovin’ soul. In his own special way, he was a missionary. He understood the slings and arrows, but never indulged a cynic for long and never gave up on his core belief that there was transcendental joy to be found in sharing (on-stage and off) that which is human, that which is true and real.
  • Martin was a tremendous help to anyone who had lost their dream. He’d help them find it again, pick it up and dust it off. Maybe repair the hole where it slipped through.
    • Frances Callier, producer of Second City Los Angeles

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
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