Tender and embarrassing moments of adolescence are captured in secretingMaya Marie with permission for Varsity

The teenage party in popular culture is a familiar topic: mixing burgeoning selfhood with alcohol and volatility is exciting and uncomfortably familiar even to an audience of adults. Whether sensationalised, stripped back, or mocked by a plucky underdog, iconic representations of teenagehood are popular for good reason. Secreting is nostalgic and honest, straddling the line between visceral teenage embarrassment and intimate, nostalgic glimpses into journeys of self-discovery that are both excruciating and thrilling.

Maya Marie’s debut script follows a group of teens spilling into adulthood. As the night progresses, we are introduced to the characters through duologues on a disco-lit stage littered with solo cups and alcohol bottles. The duologues maintain a contemplative pace throughout the play’s rather short runtime of 40 minutes. Actors pass on and off the stage, creating apt snapshots of the night as they forge clumsy intimacies and explosive tensions.

“secreting is nostalgic and honest”

Characters attempt to surpass the humiliating self-consciousnesses of their bodies and identities, and collide with one another to varying degrees of success. Some revel in their newfound egos and flailing sense of selfhood, as Jonah coerces his boyfriend into throwing a party to debut their status as a couple. Others are paralysed by sudden freedom and possibility, lingering on the sidelines and end up resorting to cleaning up. While some duologues were performed better than others, the range of characters ensured enjoyable relatability throughout, with something to please everyone. I found myself either laughing at the accurate absurdity of a character or cringing at their resonance: teen me would have identified with Millie’s fixation on other people’s problems to avoid confronting her fear of intimacy.

The duologues capture high school power plays, the disjunct clashing of different social groups, and the all-consuming claustrophobia of intense teenage relationships, epitomised by Annie’s (Lillian Jones) compellingly accurate drunken breakdown against a bathroom wall. Jones’s thrill-seeking endeavours were contrasted against Jake Leigh’s predatory “nice guy”, who garnered many laughs through his ambiguous balancing act of pathetic mock-sincerity and unabashed male ego. Conversations as the night progressed often saw the breakdown of relationships, although a heart-warming duologue towards the end saw Alice Roberts bring attentive depth to classic “mum friend” Millie, confronted with Luna Jarvis’ playful Lex, the person everyone needs as a confidante at the end of the night. The pair had an easy chemistry and poignantly conveyed the quietly restorative power of early morning kitchen intimacies. Glimpses of characters and their interactions with others often left me wanting to see the next episode.

“Characters move for the most part beyond stereotypes”

Audiences should not expect entirely sincere and wide-eyed explorations of teenage selfhood throughout. The production embraces the cringe-worthy, dwelling in the sometimes over-extravagant nature of adolescent drama, creating comedy from teenage burns delivered with steadfast commitment. Rob Monteiro wonderfully delivers the self-absorbed, popularity-driven half of the school’s next new couple, embodying the camp comedy that begins the play: his other half Toby, meanwhile, seeks to free himself from self-consciousness through alcohol. Maya Marie’s writing and Gabriella Shennan’s directing do well to flesh out these often familiar archetypes. Characters move for the most part beyond stereotypes, and, through some strong performances, create poignant moments.


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The production’s sound design distinguishes between different locations in the play, creating movement between outside settings and different areas of the house. Party music played as if coming from another room, creating a feeling of confidentiality as secrets are shared both between characters and audience members.The fraught and awkwardly intimate nature of many of the interactions is captured by the show’s set design and blocking. From Millie’s glass-shattering (literally) fear of letting go, to a heated argument on either side of the stage-come-bathroom door, these material elements crossed and re-affirmed boundaries between characters. I only wish the Corpus door was not so health and safety-positive as to prevent Monteiro’s Jonah from slamming the door in the most melodramatic way possible.

As messy adolescent drama meets characters stumbling towards self-acceptance, Marie’s secreting successfully evokes the touching nostalgia of our teenage years, while confronting us with painful self-recognition. Having seen Spring Awakening the night before was a thematic precursor to this experience: bodies and teenage discovery thrown into focus in both plays, I thought about how far we have come, and still have to go. A trip down memory lane that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this new piece of student writing strikes an memorable chord out of the familiar heart-to-hearts of a teenage party.

secreting is playing at the Corpus Playroom from Wednesday the 10th to Saturday the 13th of May, 9:30pm.