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Performer/Realtor Sherrie Martin connects aging and real estate in one-woman show

September 15, 2017

Sherrie Martin has an unusual set of skills.

Since childhood, she’s been a gymnast, continuing her practice with frequent adult classes.

Through her gymnastics experience, she stumbled into circus classes, which led to experiences with comedy and theater.

An aerial silks class during a trip to San Francisco inspired her to add aerial silks to the gym she owned, and now Martin runs and performs with Spokane Aerial Performance Arts.

And during a trip to Ireland, Martin got into the art of clowning (think Lucille Ball rather than balloon animals), which led her to take a one-month intensive course at Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre.

On top of that, Martin has also worked as a Realtor in Washington and Arizona.

So how does she put this résumé to use?

In a one-woman show called “I Will Sell This House Today,” which she will perform at the Bing Crosby Theater on Wednesday.

After learning about physical theater, Martin added a one-woman show to her list of things she’d like to try.

She toyed with the idea for a couple of years until last fall, when she spent two months in Arizona writing with Brian Foley, a director and adjunct professor of theater at Arizona State University.

“It’s not a small endeavor,” Martin said. “A one-woman show for an hour, that’s a big thing. It’s intense to write it because you need to write it with a proper build throughout the show. You need a good story, you need a good script. But then it’s just you the whole show.”

In “I Will Sell This House Today,” Martin connects the beauty of aging with the humorous situations she’s encountered as a real estate agent.

In the show, Martin’s character, a real estate agent, uses an app to help her with a listing she’s trying to sell.

“There’s definitely modernness in it but you can tell she’s aging,” Martin said.

Martin works to highlight her age during the show, but because of her athletic background, she appears much younger than her 58 years as she jumps around the stage.

After a show last year in which Martin did a handstand into a bridge, audience members even told her about conversations they overheard questioning if Martin really was, then, 57.

“I really like highlighting that part,” she said. “It’s not always easy to get that part across. I’m very proud of my age. I’m very good at being my age. I even call myself 60 sometimes.”

Martin’s first performance of “I Will Sell This House Today” was in Spokane for a group of about 60 family members and friends.

After that, she performed in Tucson, Arizona, Staunton, Virginia, and San Diego.

Following her performance at the Bing, Martin will take the show to New York for United Solo, the world’s largest solo theater festival, which in past years has featured performances from Meryl Streep, Billy Crystal and Helen Mirren.

Thinking many artists would procrastinate on completing the application, the business-minded Martin decided to apply early in hopes it would increase her chances of being selected.

“To some degree, I have a huge business sense to me so I’m a little different than other artists because I don’t procrastinate and I like my paperwork,” she said. “That probably benefited me so I did get selected. I also have a good script and a really good director so I’m sure that was part of it as well.”

After United Solo, Martin hopes to write another one-woman show, most likely also starring her real estate agent character, who has really connected with other members of the real estate community.

’I’ve had Realtors come up and be, like, ‘That’s everything I’ve ever dealt with,’ ” Martin said. “A guy came up to me in Virginia and goes ‘I’ve bought and sold six houses throughout my lifetime and you covered every Realtor in it’.”

And though it speaks to the real estate community, “I Will Sell This House Today” deals with subject matter anyone can relate to.

“I think that the takeaway is I’m this put-together person that keeps falling apart,” Martin said. “That’s probably the universal message that goes beyond the real estate.”