Secret Show series at Painted Bride is a theatrical blind date


Typically this space would be filled with a description of the performance that will be taking place at the Painted Bride Tuesday night, with enthusiastic quotes from the artists or actors or musicians talking about the ideas behind it or the work that’s gone into it.

You’ll find none of that here, because we’re not allowed to tell you what exactly Tuesdaynight’s show will be — and couldn’t if we wanted to. The first time anyone other than the artists involved will know what’s happening is when the curtain rises. This is the first of the Painted Bride’s “Secret Show” series, which hands the stage and the reins over to a different artist/curator each month and gives them carte blanche to create a surreptitious event.

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All we do know is that this inaugural show is the brainchild of “lover, artist, and educator” Christina May, an acting coach and theater artist who has recently created productions for the Fringe Festival, the Philadelphia Jazz Project, and Theater Horizon in Norristown. “It’s hard for me to keep it a secret,” May gushes enthusiastically, then drops a tantalizing hint. “Without saying too much, it’s ‘The Price is Right’ meets artistic sanctuary meets interdisciplinary explosion.”

That doesn’t clear much up, but Painted Bride executive director Laurel Raczka hopes that audiences will be drawn in by the names of the curators and the air of mystery surrounding these shows. “That feeling of surprise creates a different kind of excitement, kind of like going on a first date,” Raczka explains. “We’re hoping for a variety of experiences.”

As excited as she is now, May says she was initially reluctant to take on the challenge of crafting a show in such a hush-hush environment. “I was scared out of my mind. This is relying on your name alone to bring people to come. But as an evolving artist you should always do something that petrifies you, so something inside me said ‘Do it.’ I would pay 10 bucks to see someone do whatever they wanted to do. I’m full of glitter, sparkles and love, so you’re in for a real adventure.”

On deck:

The series will continue in coming months with Renegade Company founding artistic director Mike Durkin and Kensington-based production manager, visual artist and designer Jen Cleary. May hopes that for audiences still unfamiliar with the Bride, the lure of the unknown will help create loyal audiences: “If I can use my name and my artistic shenanigans to bring people the Bride, ultimately they’re going to love the experience and want to come back. It’s the coolest space in Philadelphia.”

If you go:

Secret Show
Nov. 17, 7 p.m.
Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine St.
$10, 215-925-9914

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