Marta Becket (1925-2019)
Tribute by Jeffrey Sward

Marta Becket has enjoyed long careers in various creative fields, including dance, painting, song writing, and costume design. Born in 1925, Marta was already a successful professional dancer in her early twenties. Marta also began creating and selling casein paintings on sanded masonite. With professional dance credits on Broadway and elsewhere, Marta developed a personal traveling one-person dance show. One-person dance shows were never particularly popular, and the relative popularity continued to decline into the 1960s.

Random events in 1968 caused Marta to discover Death Valley Junction, California. Death Valley Junction consists of a single U-shaped building which constitutes the entire city. The complex included a theater named Corkhill Hall. In 1968 the entire complex was abandoned. By 1974, Marta had purchased the entire city, renamed the theater to the Amargosa Opera House, and decorated the walls and ceiling of the theater with murals.

From 1968 to the present day, the Amargosa Opera House is the venue for Marta's weekly dance performances. The shows start at 8:15pm, with or without an audience. Marta creates all aspects of the shows, including: writing original songs, designing and painting scenic backdrops, designing and sewing costumes, dancing, and singing. Responsibility for artistic content is easy to establish. Marta also continues to create and sell paintings.

Marta Becket is the personification of a life dedicated to creativity in the arts. By every indication Marta is a gifted dancer. Marta has also mastered the stylistic requirements of Broadway vocals. Creativity has been extended to costumes as well with an acceptable level of success. The problem of availability of performance opportunities has been solved by owning the venue. Marta continues a parallel creative path of painting.

A great deal of admiration is due someone, like Marta Becket, who has dedicated their life so thoroughly to artistic output of various types. One lesson often learned in the performing arts is that performances are for the performers, not the audience. Perhaps an additional lesson is that outlets for creative expression are extremely important, regardless of the medium of expression or any considerations of content or quality.


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