THEATER REVIEW: “My First Time” @ Beck Center by Laura Kennelly

Through Sun 4/29

Directed by Scott Spence, My First Time, now at the Studio Theater in the Beck Center, is an oft-comic, true confession “play” based on a website created for anonymous posters to describe their “first time” (i.e., when they lost their virginity). The script, assembled by Ken Davenport (and “people just like you”), is drawn from offerings on the website.  “Play” is in quotation marks here because it’s really more talk show than a drama (although a few of the stories seem more wishes than truth, especially the one by a boy who claims a beautiful woman he’d never met invited him to join her for sex in an airplane).

The Beck Center set by Aaron Benson with lighting by Trad Burns worked so beautifully that it was almost an additional voice. Heck, it was an additional voice when the spotlight moved quickly from one speaker to the next. Picture this: audience on two sides facing four actors assuming different personae. Sitting in tall chairs, and seated on a short platform — kinda like The Dr. Phil Show or The View — all they talk about is sex and their first time.

The four personable and likeable cast members perched on those chairs (Heidi Harris, Miguel Osbourne, Chris Richards and Victoria Zajac) pass from role to role and topic to topic in rapid sequence, doing admirable vocal shape-shifting as they go.

Before the show starts, audience members are invited to share brief details about their own first times. First question, “Are you a virgin?” If no, continue to tell when, where and first name of partner. Or just evade the question and say you are a virgin. There were eight virgins the night I was there: I kinda doubt it, but I get it — who needs to know? But then, the device worked midshow when brief statistics flashed across the screen behind the actors.

The one bit that worked less well was a bible-thumping sermon about how all the posters were lost souls. I’d have been interested in hearing about the preacher’s first time, but all we got was a lecture, indirectly, it seemed, stemming from Davenport’s dislike of religious reasons for abstaining. It didn’t seem to fit.

BOTTOM LINE: If you like funny, hot and  steamy chatter about losing your virginity (80 minutes straight, no intermission), you will likely have a great time. Caution: I’d not take the younger kiddos unless I wanted to “have that talk” with them.

[Written by  by Laura Kennelly]


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