The Shame of It

Originally published on The Locals ( on the 25th September 2014 

The discovery of an unsent teenage love letter led to Mortified co-founders David Nadelberg and Neil Katcher sending an email asking people if they knew anyone who wanted to share their childhood writings on stage.  The email went viral and Mortified was born.

Over a decade later, an embarrassing letter that spawned a movement from LA to Amsterdam, Mortified has grown to include the Mortified Live show, with chapters across the US and springing up over Europe, a weekly podcast, documentary, books and TV series.

With a Dublin show in the works, The Locals were interested in how an American phenomenon would transfer to Irish audiences.  Considering the Irish tradition of storytelling and wry humour, we could see the appeal.  But Ireland is small.  How would Irish participants feel about reading out loud to a room full of acquaintances, not complete strangers?

Claire Byrne, met with two of the Mortified Dublin Producers, Ruth McCormack and Rebecca Gimblett, to hear more about the Mortified phenomenon and what goes on behind the scenes.

The Locals (TL): What’s Mortified all about?

Ruth:  It’s a stage show where people read from their childhood diaries, letters, embarrassing lyrics, short stories, poetry etc.  It’s hilarious but also cathartic for the person performing.  I’ve left shows crying my eyes out.

TL: How did you get involved as a producer?

Ruth:  When I was living in LA, I worked in the same office as Neil and Dave (founders of Mortified) and we became friends.  I was asked to help out at the box office one night and was blown away by it.  When I moved back to Ireland, Neil asked me if I’d be interested in setting up a Mortified Dublin.  He came over for a week, we did a lot of training and started auditioning people for producers of the show.  We now have a great mix of producers and all bring something different.

Rebecca:  Ruth mentioned that a Dublin show was happening and asked if I’d like to be involved.  I’ve journaled, I’m a writer and I’ve been doing poetry for years so it was a natural fit.

TL: What are you looking for when reading submissions?

Ruth:  The main thing is if we all laugh at something then that’s gold and it’s in.  A lot of the time we would see something as funny and the person reading their diary wouldn’t think it’s funny at all.

Rebecca:  Often they choose what they think is funny and what we want to hear.  When we just want to hear the everyday things that are embarrassing.

TL: What goes on behind the scenes to make a show like this happen?

Ruth:  We ask people to submit their details, I look through it and then get in touch to arrange a meeting, asking them to bring more content.  We organise some sessions between participants and producers, as an opportunity for them to read aloud.

It’s mainly about picking out what’s good, how they can provide the backstory and how they can perform it live.  After that we assign them a producer to help them prepare and work on their material.

TL:  Why do you think Mortified is so popular?

Ruth: It’s relatable.  People get on stage and share these humiliating experiences.   There’s something wildly exciting about reading on stage and that’s what people go for – the taboo of reading diaries.

Rebecca: Irish people have a really specific sense of humour, we’re great at taking the mick out of each other and love laughing at ourselves.

TL: Why do you do what you do?

Ruth: There’s something so endearing about hearing someone else’s childhood memories.  It brings people together and makes them realise they’re not alone in their mortification! It’s also amazing getting to know the participants, both their present selves and diary selves.

Interested in Sharing the Shame?  Sign up for the Dublin Mortified here
The Dublin Mortified show will take place on a date in late November or December TBC.  We’ll update this article when we know or keep an eye on the Mortified listings page here


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Jessie Ware on Fire

Like a lot of my friends I’ve been completely caught up in work lately.  My love of music and love of experiencing live music, has slipped through  my fingers.   I haven’t had a  chance to listen, feel and explore the sounds and feelings of hearing a new  song for the first time.  Thankfully I was hit hard with the new Jessie Ware remix of “Say you Love Me”.  For some  reason it hit me like a truck.  Jessie’s beautiful voice, the bitter-sweet lyrics and Alex Adair’s  beats caught me on the hop and gave me the new song jitters.

Tenner bets you play this on repeat.

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Musical discovery in the form of Mercury Mercury

Tinkering around the internet of a Wednesday evening and listening to musical recommendations leads to either some epic finds or stupendous fails.  I think Mercury Mercury fall into the former category.  Yes they’re Irish, yes they’re music nerds and yes they’re of the danceable electronic music variety.  Like a lot of acts coming out of Ireland at the moment.  The difference with these guys is that they sound like they’re having a lot of fun with their own sounds and like they don’t take themselves too seriously.  All good in my book.  So here’s some not too sombre sounding electronica for your ears this Wednesday evening.

(Apologies for the lack of video/direct music links)

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Polica “Wandering Star” – Song for a Sunday

Polica’s “Wandering Star” feels like the perfect song to beam out of your speakers on a Sunday morning.  A perfect song to wake up to or walk with you  through the still sleepy streets of your neighbourhood.  For me it sits like a bit like an emotional hangover, not exactly the most comfortable of songs to listen to but gorgeous nonetheless.

Thankfully the electronica/pop duo of Olson and Leaneagh are currently on tour so if you like what you hear check out their site for further information.

And for a gorgeously melodic remix check out Tropics take on “Wandering Star”:

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Acro Yoga and the Balancing Act

I’ve talked about how great YogaGlo is on here before and recently I’ve discovered a brilliant teacher on it called Dice Iida-Klein.  His classes offer a good balance for me and my own practice and I genuinely enjoy them.  After doing a particularly grounding class with him on YogaGlo I decided to learn more about him and his teaching style.  That’s when I stumbled upon a lot of information about Acro Yoga – a relatively new style of yoga involving yoga and acrobatics but ultimately focusing on partner and strong balancing work.

Acro Yoga looks both interesting and scary to me.  I’m sure I’m not alone on this one.  Typically I practice yoga as an individual, whether it be in a studio or practicing in my home.  Acro Yoga looks like a completely different concept – practicing yoga with a partner, completely trusting them to hold and support you in a pose as well as experimenting and playing with yoga in a way that is completely new.

It seems Dice and his wife Briohny are firm fans of Acro Yoga.  They also appear to have a very trusting and strong relationship, as you can see in the below video link.  Quoting from the Equinox siteit’s a display of the strong emotional connection that has grown, and is continuing to grow between them. It’s the type of connection that, at times, made the crew on set feel like they should leave the room…

As I mentioned on the twitter recently, this is one of the most beautiful yoga videos I’ve ever seen.  Take a few minutes out of your day to appreciate this gorgeous flow class and one couples’ strong connection.

The Balancing Act

For those of you based in Dublin, check out Acrobatic Yoga for further information on classes.

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Steffaloo “Can’t You See” – Song for a Sunday

Steffaloo, Los Angeles native Steph Thomas, has been doing the rounds lately with this absolutely gorgeous track “Can’t See You”.   What I love about this song is the combination of ethereal voice, bare guitar and minimal percussion sounds.  Double that with some pretty powerful lyrics and this is a heartfelt and absolutely wonderful song.  A beautiful song for a Sunday I reckon.

Thanks to The Fader in NYC for plugging this song. For further info on Steffaloo:

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Kerry at Christmas Time


It’s starting to become a bit of a tradition with my family – abandoning the heaving streets of Christmas shoppers in Dublin and heading to the beautiful Killarney in December.  Instead of mulling through the crowds or trying to book a table in an over priced restaurant we’ve decided to head to the country for fresh air, a lot of seafood chowder, deliciously creamy pints of Guinness and blustery walks in Muckross Park.  It’s true what everyone says about the Kerry way of life – it’s much more relaxed and perfect for easing us into the silly season of Christmas.

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