There’s nothing like being treated to a vicious screaming match between a desperately unhappy couple to make you glad to be single. While many awkwardly glimpsed lovers’ spats last only as long as you can bear to stay in the room, Gerald Zipper’s Secrets is two solid acts of mortifying voyeurism at a dinner party gone terribly wrong. Three couples come together to discuss how best to help their troubled friends, Fred and Edna, but are too furious with each other to stick to the topic at hand. The accusations are fierce, the “drinking” is rampant and the shouting is hysterical; I left the theater twitching thanks to the terrific ensemble cast’s all-too-real performances.
Secrets is an entertaining, thought-provoking piece with strong dialogue, but the secrets revealed (affairs! abortions!) and the thoughts provoked are somewhat predictable — what keeps us tethered to people we no longer love? Are good memories really enough? When is it finally time to leave?
Naturally, the most interesting secrets here are the ones that are never revealed. While unrumpled hosts Len (smirking Darren Lougee) and Lally (Elena Zazanis) can barely bring themselves to help each other get the apartment ready, they remain conspicuously well-behaved — even affectionate — throughout the shrieking, and skillfully evade ponying up during the devastating round of truth telling. Only when their last limp, drunk friend staggers brokenly out of their apartment can Len and Lally finally show their true bitter feelings towards each other. This, perhaps, is the most honest moment of all.