Imagine writing down a deep secret that you have never told anyone, then sending that secret to a complete stranger.
PostSecret: The Show by Frank Warren, TJ Dawe, Kahlil Ashanti and Justin Sudds, is a non-fiction show that brings the original PostSecret project, started by Frank Warren, to the stage. For the original PostSecret project, Warren reached out asking people to write down and send in a brief secret they had never told anyone on a postcard. The secrets ranged from the lies parents tell their children, sexual deviancy, thoughts of suicide or self-harm, and everything in between.
The show is comprised of three actors, a guitarist and a multimedia slideshow. The slideshow goes through pictures of actual postcards with secrets people had sent in for the project. The three actors served to read some of the postcards aloud for the audience and to verbally reenact the experiences that PostSecret participants went through.
An example of a reenactment was when a mother sent in a secret saying she wished Santa was real because she couldn’t pay for the gift her child wanted. The two other actors then acted out a scene where they reached out to the mother by creating a PayPal account for people to donate money to.
As the show progressed, it followed a pattern where the performers would read some of the secrets that shared a common theme aloud, and then reenact the experience people had through PostSecret. Then the show would shift into a showcase of secrets following a different theme.
At the intermission, the performers asked the audience to write down their own secret and turn them into a mailbox in the lobby. When intermission ended, the performers brought out the secrets and read them aloud to involve the audience with the show. One example was about how a brother secretly torments his sister. Another was a person who felt they were living a lie and wanted to end their life.
This part was the most moving because the show goes from being about past participants in PostSecret to being about the audience and how people around you may be holding something in that defines who they are.
PostSecret: The Show has a quality that can only be described as human. The variety and often relatability of the secrets revealed the idea that no one is perfect, and that’s okay. Often the show felt like a dialog about our society because the secrets, no matter how shocking or obscure, were all believable. It was surprising to see so many people struggling with something they have never told anyone. It was even more surprising that sharing their secret helped many people get through their struggles.
PostSecret: The Show follows a healthy balance between the dark, touching and comedic tones and is all expertly connected with verbal illustrations of how the sharing of secrets changed peoples lives. After leaving the show, I felt inspired by the concept of sharing something that I’ve never told anyone. I was moved by the idea of how it is okay to be imperfect because we are not alone, and there is likely someone else who is imperfect in the same way.