Exhuming our adolescent shame

Some people like to leave the past behind them. Others, such as Jean Sergent, like to share the shame.

Ms Sergent is the woman behind Corner Diary, a Fringe show in which 15 actors and comedians share excerpts of their most cringeworthy adolescent writing for the audience's amusement - and perhaps their own catharsis.

The idea came from Seattle writer Ariel Meadow Stallings' "Salon of Shame" diary readings, which are marketed under the tagline, "Join us as we drink and exploit our past selves for your entertainment".

"I heard about it and thought it was a great idea, so Corner Diary is the start of the movement here."

She describes the show as a "comedy confessional".

"People read letters that they wrote but never sent, diary entries from when they were a teenager, diary entries from not too long ago . . ."

Ms Sergent and her collaborators, Jonny Potts and Hadley Donaldson, held development shows last year to gather material for this year's Fringe.

The five shows have been narrowed down to three themes: Love (on tonight and Saturday), fame (March 1), and friendship (March 8 and 9).

Ms Sergent expects a special guest from Melbourne reading letters he wrote to himself when he was 13, in which he pretended to be his stalker to make his girlfriend jealous, to be a highlight of tonight's show.

"It is definitely at the expense of past selves, but it's also about sharing the shame.

"What people have brought to the table - whether it's Hadley's fan letter to Claire Danes, or the poems Alice May Connolly wrote about Leonard diCaprio for a creative writing workshop when she was 19 - is very relatable.

"There's kind of a catharsis to listening to them; you go, ‘Wow, we're all the same'."

Ms Sergent, who is serving as MC for the five shows, will read a letter she wrote to an old boyfriend while they were on holiday together.

"We were pretty much breaking up, but I never gave him that letter. And it's very angsty."


Corner Diary, tonight, Saturday and March 1, 8, 9, Bats Theatre, 10.45pm. Tickets $10.

Contact Elle Hunt
Capital Day reporter
Email: elle.hunt@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @mlle_elle