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Mortified Portland at Alberta Rose Theater 9/14/19 / Preview

By C. FRANCIS O'LEARY // Mortified inspires Portlanders to relive the embarrassment of adolescent life  for fun!

Whether a few years or a few decades removed from back to school time, who could forget the trepidation that came with the approach of the first day of school. On Saturday, Sept 14 and Sunday, Sept 15, Portlanders will have to opportunity to laugh, cry and cringe as they relive the blunder years with Mortified Portland.

Mortified began in 2002 when David Nadelberg, the group’s founder, unearthed a long-forgotten love letter he had written as a teen. It sparked an idea and he sent an email to friends, asking them to dig through shoe boxes and the backs of closets for their own embarrassing artifacts. The catharsis of reexperiencing childhood angst through more mature eyes was a hit and Mortified was born.

In the ensuing 18 years – long enough that those yet born when Mortified started are beginning to be embarrassed by their own adolescences – Mortified has grown from that one letter to a movement for joyously embarrassing oneself. The Mortified family now includes a film and docuseries, a podcast with over 150 episodes, three books, and live events at 22 Mortified chapters worldwide.

Portland’s own chapter of Mortified was founded nearly 12 years ago, after Susan and Egan Danehy (whose first maybe-a-date-maybe-not was at a Mortified show in LA) moved to Portland and were asked to start a chapter. Now, Mortified Portland hosts events every 2-3 months, usually hosting a few shows over a weekend. The yearly schedule usually includes the perennially sold-out, themed show “Doomed Valentine’s” and a September, Go Back to School with Mortified show.

Despite the name, the stories this weekend aren’t all school themed. The topics will range from an epic story about losing one’s virginity to summers in a Canadian trailer park to an obsession with the LA Lakers motivating a young girl to be less shy.

You can be sure that all the performers will be as hilarious as they are cringeworthy. That much is guaranteed by the vetting process, which includes the question “Why does this material embarrass you now as an adult?” After submitting an online form, would-be participants meet the Danehys, who help them home in on the most relatable and funny portions of their excerpts. Those excerpts tend to be when a participant’s teen self was feeling particularly angry or happy or “oblivious to an obvious-to-everyone-else reality” according to the application website.

Keep in the know about upcoming Mortified Portland events by following on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t miss your opportunity to get mortified this weekend at Alberta Rose Theater. There are shows Saturday, Sept 13 at 6 and 9p and Sunday, Sept 14 at 7p. All shows are 18+ $18 advance, $22 at the door, $25 preferred seating. After the show you’ll be encouraged to find relics from your own youth and maybe next time it’ll be you on stage.

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