By Sarita Rao
Set against the backdrop of the fate of the German Democratic Republic, you watch Berlin transition from the last throes of the Cold War to freedom and then unification. It makes for a tough history lesson.
You are instantly drawn into the life of the Berger family, living under the watchful eye of the Stasi, oppressive and constantly present even if never on stage.
Daniel Pinkerton’s play is plot driven, but the dialogue is fast flowing. You move from the oppressive little apartment that might be bugged, to the prison where Karin Berger is held, to the bedroom of two reunited lovers, the coffee house of two friends, and the Bundesrat offices where Karin eventually finds herself.
Each scene begins or is interrupted by face to camera footage of sometimes secret interviews, sometimes public press conferences. It’s a story about the personal being political. The candid footage brings to mind the thought that social media is today the watchful eye on everything we do.
Rhona Richards is outstanding as the rebel with a cause, daughter to a Stasi official and intent on fighting for freedom at all costs. Her passion and anguish make you literally jump in your seat. You’re with her even when you know she is wrong.
Timothy Lone captures brilliantly the understated and loving husband, always wanting to do the right thing.
The supporting roles of Wolf Neiderman, pragmatic and eloquent father to Karin, and friend Ana Hornung, weary, wise and ready to keep moving forward, are effortlessly performed by Christine Probst and Gilbert K Johnston.
But it is perhaps Sarah Lamesch, as daughter Erika, trying to make sense of all that is happening around her in the incisive yet emotional way teenagers do, who holds the key to this storyline.
"Do you want to know a secret?" could be set in any period because the notion of betrayal is nothing new in theatre, but somehow set against the backdrop of a changing Europe, it seems as poignant now as it would have been a few decades earlier.
Where & when
Tickets are available for all performances of “Do you want to know a secret?” on March 10,11 & 12 at 8pm and March 13 at 5pm at the Mierscher Kulturhaus. Tickets cost 20 euros for adults, 10 euros for students, and are available from the Kulturhaus box office on 26 32 43 1 or from Luxembourg-Ticket.lu on 47 08 95 1.