Richard Perez’s one-man autobiographical show "Secret Things" is at the Bloomington Playwrights Project in a production directed by Patricia McKee.
Perez, a veteran actor, director and writer is the Artistic Director of the BPP. He begins "Secret Things" by talking directly to the audience about his nervousness and his fears. Will we like it, will we laugh, will we be engaged? After his revelations will we still like him?
During the hour-long monologue Perez touches on his boyhood in Oakland, takes us through his adolescence, the life saving discovery of theatre, and his scuffles as an actor in New York The stories are often laced with humor, mostly at himself, but at how screwy life can be for a young boy as well. There’s good use of period music and even some videos.
In "Secret Things" there are loving portraits of his grandmother and grandfather, and funny and sad tales of the trials and tribulations of an overweight adolescent. His idols are the graceful slender dancer John Travolta, the equally slender and magnetic singer Tom Jones and Olivia Newton-John. Though the overall texture is irony there are some movingly dramatic moments especially around the tragic death of Perez’s father and the effects on the whole family. From adolescence, Perez’s moves on to his discovery and immersion in the theatre, first in Oakland then in New York City. I enjoyed the portraits so much that I wished for more about some of the characters in his stories, especially his mother and his brother.
As Perez came to the end of his one-man show, "Secret Things," he wrapped up in the same vein as his beginning, talking directly to the audience, hoping that we were with him, that we understood, that we cared, and , yes, that we still liked him. The opening night audience applauded long enough to call him back for a second bow.
Richard Perez performs his "Secret Things" in the production directed by Patricia McKee at the Bloomington Playwrights Project through the 23rd.
You can see this and other reviews, and hear an interview with Richard Perez on our George Walker’s Arts Interviews page.