BWW Reviews: SECRETS Attempts to Present a Raw Graphic Portrait of a Failing Marriage
In SECRETS, Evan and Merisha struggle to save their once-fairytale marriage amidst mounting secrets that explode in their faces. According to writer/director (and star) Wallace Demarria, SECRETS explores infidelity, lies, lack of attention and communication, and much more. "If you ever wondered why men and women cheat or have been cheated on, then you will want to see this play. Seeing this play will help people better understand why others cheat," said Demarria. "If you pay attention, you can save any relationship after watching this play. Even "perfect" couples have issues in relationships, but how these couples communicate with each other affects the final outcome of the relationship."
He also goes on to promise that the cast's performance will leave audiences intrigued, engaged, transformed, and educated about the complexities of relationships and why they sometimes do and don't last. SECRETS exposes you to a very real and raw portrait of how and why relationships go wrong.
All I can say is the production I saw did not compare to his description and lacked any direction other than in one scene where all four actors needed to speak lines simultaneously. That particular scene was the most interesting in the entire play, showing that men and women rationalize relationships using the same words but have totally different interpretations of the words. Some of these phrases in comparing men to women: You know how it is the first time you get together. They don't want anyone else until they got you. Once you get married there are only 3 positions; missionary, woman on top, and from behind on birthdays if you are lucky. Of course we have heard all this before and such is the case with most of the dialogue throughout the play. There really is nothing new offered to rationalize why people cheat other than women need a reason and men need an opportunity.
The production perhaps was not ready for an audience on the preview night I attended as it started 45 minutes late with no explanation for the delay. And I can only hope that the actors will be more engaged and fully explore their characters once the show opens on March 21.
Programs were not provided so I cannot tell you which actor played which role other than Director/Writer Wallace Demarria ("Colorblind") leads the cast as Evan and is joined by American Idol Finalist Kinnik Sky as Merisha, 13/13/13's Trae Ireland, The Walking Dead's Vincent Ward, Trisha L. Mann-Grant, Malika Blessing, Joey Sinko, and Tara Batesole. But I do not have much to say other than the performances were too self-contained to accurately bring the characters to life, and that the best scenes were when sex was being graphically described.
Several people in the audience must have felt the same way I did and chose to cover their boredom by texting throughout the show. And I heard more than one cell phone ringing. It would help if an announcement had been made prior to the show beginning asking the audience to turn off cell phones and not text or take photos to avoid the distraction they cause.
I walked out feeling as if I had just seen a very poorly directed high school play that lacked any character development or understanding. Sure there were some laughs at the jokes about the ongoing battle between men and women, but jokes can be funny on their own and not reliant on the character delivering them.
SECRETS opens on March 21, 2014 for a limited two-weekend engagement in the Other Space at Santa Monica Playhouse 1211 4th Street Santa Monica, California 90401.
Set design is by Santa Monica Playhouse; lighting and sound design is by Tammy Baghdassarian; costume design is by Wallace Demarria; and technical director/production manager/production stage manager is Tammy Baghdassarian. The show is produced by Wallace Demarria Presents. To purchase tickets, go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/555249.
Warning: There is a graphic language and adult situations. This production is not suitable for children under 18.