By Victoria Erickson
For more than 12 years, people from all over the world have been sending their anonymous secrets to a mailbox in Germantown, Maryland. Whether simply scribbled onto existing postcards or thoughtfully handcrafted with personal imagery, a handful of these secrets are shared with the world via the site PostSecret.com every Sunday by the keeper of the mailbox and creator of this project, Frank Warren.
Back in 2004, Warren devised an idea for what he called “an ongoing community art project.” He started by printing up 3,000 self-addressed postcards. Blank on one side, the cards instructed people to anonymously share a secret before dropping it in the mail. Soon the project spread virally and postcards of all kinds from all over the country began pouring in.
With over 200 million visitors, PostSecret.com is now the largest advertisement-free blog in the world. Warren’s original project has since raised over $1 million for suicide prevention and spawned into five books, live talks/events on six continents, numerous art exhibits and even transitioned into a live show, PostSecret: The Show, which is coming to the Lincoln Center on February 9.
Much like reading these posted secrets on the blog, the live show will take you on a journey through the humor and humanity of the stories we keep to ourselves.
“Secrets can take many forms — they can be shocking, or silly, or soulful. They can connect us to our deepest humanity or with people we’ll never meet,” says Warren in his popular TED Talk from 2012. “Secrets can remind us of the countless human dramas, of frailty and heroism, playing out silently in the lives of people all around us.”
Using projected images and video, three actors will guide the PostSecret: The Show audience through the backstory of some of these postcards. It is through these narratives that the true stories behind the secrets are revealed. The show also changes every night as secrets are gathered from the audience and shared on stage.
“Secrets are universal,” Warren told BuzzFeed in a 2014 interview. “I go to my mailbox and secrets are coming from different countries, different continents. They’re all expressing the same taboos and longing and heartbreak and hope. We think that secrets separate us and make us different. But if you find the courage to share them, we shatter that illusion. We see that secrets aren’t walls; they’re bridges.”
Warren’s ultimate hope for this project is that people recognize that they are not alone. There is a shared commonality in the experiences we share as human beings. “It’s wonderful to see people reached individually but then come together in an audience and understand that no one is ever alone,” says Warren. “[It] really is the ultimate message of this project.”
You can be a part of this emotional, moving and sometimes humorous experience at the Lincoln Center February 9, 2018. Tickets start at $15 and are available at LCtix.com.