Steele is an actor, producer, marketer, and creator in Philadelphia.

What was in my pockets? I’m associated with the Painted Bride, I’ve been to other Secret Shows, and I’ve worked with Josh before.

I was intrigued from when I entered into the lobby and was instructed to get a wristband and go through “security.” At security I was checked and my FitBit was confiscated. Even though I knew that was part of the show and that I’d get my property back it did make me uncomfortable, which I’m sure was the goal of those pre-show activities.

Everyone was split into one of five groups and separated. In my group, which was located in the cafe gallery, we were instructed to read through some text that was provided before hearing a monologue about oppression and uprising of oppressed people. We were then led to the main theater where the full audience eventually convened.

I found the design a little bit underwhelming in the auxiliary spaces, but very well put together in the theater. It had a really rough look that complimented the piece. Unfortunately, the music became very distracting at times. Perhaps the volume just needed to be lowered or for instrumentals to be used, but I felt myself struggling to hear the actors over the lyrics of the music. The use of projections was really well done. They definitely enhanced the world of the show, especially the portion where the audience was eating popcorn and watching TV (shown via projection) of the Baltimore Uprising.

I felt like the acting was strong. The one point where I was disengaged was with Jordan’s final monologue as it seemed very long in comparison to the length of the rest of the monologues in the show.  The direction was also strong. The actors moved throughout the space, entering from all parts of the building, in great coordination.

Overall I really enjoyed the show. I was impressed how the performers were able to really engage the audience and create a situation which allowed for the audience’s willingness to volunteer to do uncomfortable things. The concept of uncomfortability was a through line throughout the show, I’m sure on purpose. The audience needed to recognize and feel the uncomfortability that oppressed people feel on a regular basis.

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