There aren’t many places people can safely admit that they have an eternal love for garden gnomes, without fear of being committed. Secrets like that tend to stay buried, along with pictures of train-track headgear and junior high love letters. Lately, however, more people are willingly resurrecting their pasts, in public, with “Mortified: Angst Written.”
“‘It’s the cliche of ‘everyone’s laughing with you,’ but it’s true,” says Karen Corday, a co-producer of the upcoming “Mortified” Boston show. “The audience roots for you because of the universal opinion that everyone has: that they were once that weird kid.”
“Mortified” allows performers to showcase their adolescent artifacts — diary entries, home videos, notebooks declaring love for Kirk Cameron — to sold-out crowds.
Corday, a life-long diary keeper and performer herself, has been with the show since 2006. Her own embarrassing past includes a motorcycle-riding boyfriend who she invented as a teen.
“He would pick me up every Valentine’s Day on his motorcycle, even though I was 14,” she says.
Participants audition for a slot at “Mortified,” and the only rule is that entries have to have been written when the presenter was under 21. Aside from a few local comedians, the show consists of amateurs, unlike chapters in New York City and Los Angeles. It adds to the show’s authenticity, says Corday.
Even the audience gets to participate, picking the winner of the Bad Teen Poetry Slam. Ultimately, though, everyone is on your side.
“Sometimes it’s emotional and relatable. People laugh, gasp, cry. Readers like having that support,” Corday says. “It’s cathartic.”
Origins of the awkwardness
It started when creator Dave Nadelberg found one of his adolescent love letters and just had to share it. He created “Mortified,” designed for “the noble pursuit of personal redemption through public humiliation.” The show has spanned two books and includes nine major city chapters, inclu- ding Maimo, Sweden. It has attracted the attenti-on (and embarrassing pasts) of celebs like Felicia Day and Danny Pudi.