True tales of teen angst light the stage in 'Mortified' 

Think back to those days of yore when the melodrama of adolescence seeped forth from the pen and onto the pages of, like, your totally top-secret diary.

Every awkward and utterly irrational thought you ever had was feverishly documented for your eyes only.

Remember how completely smitten you were over that guy who sat next to you in sophomore biology? He sort of knew you existed and for some reason that merited loopy doodle hearts in the margins of your notebook. That is, until you eventually learned he didn't 'like, like' you and the sharp pain of unrequited love inspired that 15-page manifesto to never crush again.

Now think about recounting such a tale of woe in front of a bunch of strangers?

Oh, the horror. The horror.

That's the idea behind Mortified, a stage-performance-meets-group- therapy session, where seemingly well-adjusted folks reveal the innermost workings of their ridiculous teenage brains by reading old journal entries and bad, really bad, poetry.

Inspired by an unsent love letter, Los Angeles-based writer David Nadelberg initially created Mortified as a one-time production four years ago, but the awkwardness of adolescence struck a chord with the masses and the event has since exploded across cities

like New York, Boston and San Francisco, which hosts the event once a month at the Make-Out Room.

Last year Nadelberg published "Mortified: Real Words Real People Real Pathetic," an anthology of people's childhood ruminations.

For over a year, Scott Lifton, 31, has produced the San Francisco event. He says there is never a shortage of folks willing to listen to the absurd teenage chronicles, but admits that it can be difficult to find new performers. The problem isn't so much that people aren't willing to share the embarrassing details of their youth onstage; it's that Mortified requires unaltered "shoebox artifacts" such as letters and diary entries to fuel the comedic performances.

With the help of his journal, Lifton plans to recount the tale of his first high school girlfriend:

"I was so giddy at first, celebrating our second day anniversary and stuff, and then you read on and in like a week or two I was like 'I done with this. I'm not dating this person for the rest of my high school career!'' "

Among performers at the Make-Out Room this weekend, there's sure to be a story to which everyone can relate. Whether it's the one about the girl pining away for her first kiss or the guy who just can't seem to confess to his coming-out diary that, well, he's gay, Lifton says the stories hit home, induce a cringe or two, but ultimately end in laughter.



Where: Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Feb. 16-17

Tickets: $12


Looking for a good place to eat after you confess your secrets at the Make-Out Room? You can count on Patricia Unterman's restaurant reviews.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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