Secrets Are No Fun

Secrets Are No Fun

Unless you share with everyone


Secrets are the currency of intimacy.

So says Frank Warren, creator of PostSecret and now the live experience, “PostSecret: The Show.”

Warren became the world’s most trusted stranger when he put out an open invitation for people to share their secrets with him on postcards mailed directly to his home. More than a decade later, the million-plus secrets sent anonymously to Warren have been published in six best-selling books, featured in museum exhibitions and made the PostSecret website the most visited advertisement-free blog in the world.

“Everyone has at least one secret,” Warren says, which can make people feel very alone. The act of sharing that which burdens us, even anonymously, “gives us more understanding and compassion and empathy — not just for others, but for ourselves. It allows us to take greater ownership of who we are.”

As a love letter, if you will, to the PostSecret project as a whole, the live show presents a whole new experience, bringing together people who are fans of the project and people who may have never heard of it. Three actors and a guitarist on a stark stage bring to life the stories behind some of the secrets as the artful postcard is projected on stage. It’s a poignant, hilarious and ultimately cathartic experience to peek at the humanity people are willing to share from behind anonymity.

Courtesy Photo
The stories behind some of the secrets Frank Warren has received over the last 13 years are performed in “PostSecret: The Show.”

“First of all, people are entertained. There’s a voyeuristic pleasure, perhaps a sense of schadenfreude,” Warren muses, “but eventually [a viewer] comes across a secret that speaks to you, that resonates with your heart. When you find one that resonates with your soul, you feel this deep connection not just with humanity, but with yourself. Really, it’s the most painful ones we keep from ourselves, and sometimes that burden of isolation and hiding that takes that greatest toll on us. Just that realization in and of itself gives us more power to manage our own stories.”

Some secrets will give the audience a good laugh — like the “my parents told me” lies so many of us were told to encourage more chore work — and some may be transformative to someone in the audience. Warren abounds with stories of wedding proposals resulting from people finding the courage to share their secrets with each other rather than with him; people being emboldened to leave abusive relationships because of a secret they read; and of people encouraged to share their deepest burden with their loved ones, even in that very room during the performance.

“People who have found the courage to share these secrets can change the world, can save a life,” Warren offers. “So how extraordinary is it that, by telling [one’s] story, multi-dimensional connections [are established] that can be meaningful for us and meaningful for a stranger?”

Another piece that makes the PostSecret shows so remarkable is each performance is different. Secrets that have never been shared before will be revealed — through audience participation. During intermission — which may serve as an emotional break for some — the audience will be invited to share some of their own secrets, which the actors will read during the second act. Though the energy and excitement during that part of the production is palpable, Warren says a theme that has revealed itself to him through the performances is loneliness.

“I guarantee there will be people at the show who feel alone, not knowing there are probably a dozen other people feeling the same way,” Warren shares. But whether an audience member came with someone else, or alone, Warren stands by the experience as a cathartic and transformative one. “Ultimately, the success of the show is that it entertains [and] it enriches. Friends tell the best secrets, but definitely coming on your own can take the most courage, as well.”


Courtesy Image
The artistic postcards comprising the PostSecret project express the personality of the sender and give life to their secrets.

‘PostSecret: The Show’

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. March 9; 2 & 8 p.m. March 10

WHERE — Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville

COST — $25

INFO — 443-5600,,


Categories: Cover Story