Boston#039;s Mortified performers relive embarassment

by Beacon Staff • October 3, 2007

Try to picture yourself, back in your glory days of high school, and remember all the screw-ups that made it feel like hell with textbooks.

Mortified is a reading where adults share their authentic, embarrassing experiences that they wrote in letters, poems, diary entries and lyrics, all in front of complete strangers.,Show and tell has never been this entertaining-or embarrassing.

Try to picture yourself, back in your glory days of high school, and remember all the screw-ups that made it feel like hell with textbooks.

Mortified is a reading where adults share their authentic, embarrassing experiences that they wrote in letters, poems, diary entries and lyrics, all in front of complete strangers. The show has popped up in cities like Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago.

The Mortified show that took place this past Wednesday at the Paradise Lounge featured eight adults with seemingly normal lives, but occasionally unhappy and sometimes startling pasts. Not everyone can read their tales on stage; auditions are required and the more pathetic the stories, the better chance you'll end up sharing them.

The first reader, Giulia Rozzi, a comedian who co-produces Mortified Boston, shared excerpts from her 7th grade diary. It focused on her crush on a boy named Jimmy.

She began her reading by relating an experience during her first weeks of school. "Today we were in school and Jimmy called me a hairy bitch in the hallway," she said. "I like to think he was kidding and that he said that because he really liked me."

Most of the readers that followed detailed high school crushes and the sometimes ridiculous things they would associate with love.

Daiva Deupree, an actress, delivered a vague anecdote in one of her entries. "Nate, you told me that I was a good dancer and then you borrowed a quarter from me. Think of me when someone lends you a quarter," Deupree said.

Another empassioned reader was an Emerson graduate student willing to share her teenage diary. Jennifer Stansfield, who is pursuing her MFA in creative writing, had some of the most pathetic and hilarious entries of the night.

After the show, she shared why she decided to take such a big step and pour out her most unwanted yet memorable stories.

"I know somebody who did the show last year and she sent me an e-mail," Stansfield said. "I love personal essays so I said, screw it, I'm getting up there and reading this crap."

Before she began reading her diary, she stated that she was a major goth girl back in her high school and college years. She made a list at the beginning of her college days that portrayed her goals while she was there.

"Here is a list of what I wanted to do while in college," she said. "1) Go to a frat house (I just want to know what the inside looks like) 2) Go to a sorority house (see above) 3) Go to a party (I've never been) 4) Go on a date (see above) 5) Meet a lesbian 6) Meet a gay guy 7) Have someone call me 8) Go out on a Friday and Saturday night 9) Get laid. There was a 10th but I can't remember."

At the mention of the ninth point, she looked at her father in the audience and said, "Sorry Dad, but I really wanted to!" Impressively enough, she didn't seem uncomfortable sharing this information with her dad being present.

Fortunately, Stansfield said she got to experience most of the stuff on her list.

"Sadly, I actually went back and checked them off as I did them," she said.

One of her sadder and more touching entries consisted of lyrics that she wrote, which she actually performed for the audience. "I am a disappointment to society, for I do not fit the mold," she sang. "Life is not fair; I go around in a circle, hamsters in a wheel. Time waits for no one. I shall never find the truth."

Even though they were narrating to an unfamiliar public their most private and unsettling experiences, the readers seemed comforted by the atmosphere.

Heather O'Neil, a marketing consultant and mother of twins plus one, had some of the more revealing entries about her teenage days.

"I skipped drivers ed. to go to a party," she said. "It was wild. The keg ran out at around 3 p.m. I had my first major speeding ticket and my first experience with cocaine tonight. No major deal."

Let's hope the twins weren't present when mommy said that.

If you're ready to spill your most awkward memories, go to www.getmortified.com, and apply for the next show.