BWW Reviews: POSTSECRET: THE SHOW Will Find its Audience
Upon returning home from seeing POSTSECRET: THE SHOW, I had to try tasting pickle juice because of the woman with the secret, "I drink pickle juice because it tastes so damn good!" The flavor was of coriander seed and salt. I now share her secret.
I don't mean to reduce the emotional content of POSTSECRET: THE SHOW to mere pickle juice, and it's an odd segue to start to describe this show. Yes, we all have secrets; some PostSecrets are yearnings, hopes, wishes and desires.... And some are not secrets at all, they are thoughts, which could have been revealed without hesitation.
PostSecret was an experiment conceived by Frank Warren. Ten years ago, he printed 3,000 self-addressed post cards and handed them out to random people on the street. He didn't expect what happened next. Post cards started arriving from all over the world. I interviewed Frank and I was careful to not include his home address in the article. Tonight, his home address was highlighted on screen, multiple times and mentioned in flashback conversations with his wife. She wondered why he would put their home address on the postcards. I wondered too, and I feel bad for the future owner of Frank's home, if and when, he sells it.
I wasn't expecting a documentary on Frank Warren's life or PostSecret's beginnings... Actually, I didn't know what to expect. We got the backstory of this experiment. We live in a time when snail mail meets social media tech. PostSecret's time has come and Frank's "community art project" has gone viral with over 6 million visitors on PostSecret.com. The books on sale in the lobby were a reminder of how popular PostSecret has become.
Actors, JR Adduci, Birgit Darby and Kerry Ipema were enthusiastic in their roles. I enjoyed Birgit's performance, as she changed into the many different characters she portrayed. Todd Murray subtly accompanied their performance on guitar.
I think the most touching moment for me was when voices of loved ones, saved from voice mails played. Somewhere in my stash of collectibles, I have an answering machine tape of my father. I remember his last words, "So long Lin..." This show uncovers those memories from our emotional past. Birgit told her secret. Her parents bought her a red flashy sports car. She was leaving and her father leaned into her driver's side of the car, took the seat belt, buckled her in and said, "Every time you use this seat belt, think of it as your dad giving you a hug." Her secret was touching and real.
POSTSECRET: THE SHOW reminded me of looking into the private lives and secrets of PBS, American Family in 1973. It was intriguing, intruding and mirrored our society in that decade. I think that is the appeal and attraction of this show. We are connected in our humanity and mortality in this existence, but there are times, each of us feels very isolated. POSTSECRET: THE SHOW tries to bring us together to celebrate our differences and our sameness.
More often than not, people's lives have been changed and saved from reaching out to PostSecret. There are a few, who felt violated when their secret was brought forth, but those are only a few.
Silly secrets and painful secrets are interwoven predictably to make this a plot balanced "quasi" documentary show. After intermission, the audience was asked to indulge in a mass "Selfie", a 2014 social media cliché. Postcards from the audience, which were read onstage, seemed contrived and not authentic.
POSTSECRET: THE SHOW will find its audience. There are half a million postcards in Frank's possession. There's an audience right there. Would I have gone see POSTSECRET: THE SHOW, if I were not reviewing it? I don't think so, it's not my genre of entertainment, but the show kept me engaged and interested.
After bows, we heard the voice of Frank Warren, as if we were on a Disneyland ride. I saw the Twitter post of opening night and I saw he was there in person. He should have appeared tonight. Perhaps he didn't appear to allow the actors to tell his story. If his voice was there, he should have been there.
POSTSECRET: THE SHOW is playing at Blumenthal Performing Arts Booth Playhouse until May 4. Tickets are onsale at the Blumenthal box office: 704-372-1000 and online at BlumenthalArts.org.