Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Cleveland & Akron

My First Time
Beck Center for the Arts
Review by Mark Horning

Also see Mark's review of The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God


Heidi Harris, Chris Richards, Victoria Zajac
and Miguel Osbourne

Photo by Andy Dudik
There are certain firsts that are indelibly etched in our memories: your first car; your first kiss; your first house; the first time you got laid. It's not surprising that, sooner or later someone, in this case Ken Davenport, would manage to make a play out of the most intimate of human experiences. Thus, My First Time was born.

Years before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even Myspace, a website (www.myfirsttime.com) hit the scene that allowed people to anonymously post intimate details about losing their virginity. Over the years, tens of thousands of people have shared experiences good, bad, funny, touching, romantic and even traumatic.

Entering the small Studio Theater at the Beck Center for the Arts, the audience sees that, on each seat, there is a short questionnaire for each to fill out about their first time (there is even a pencil attached). These are later incorporated into the show and in some cases got better laughs then those picked from the website (e.g., in response to "if you could say anything at all to 'your first time,' what would it be," "He's dead—but I had nothing to do with it.")

Admirably directed by Scott Spence, the two men and women (Heidi Harris, Miguel Osborne, Chris Richards and Victoria Zajac) take what could be a rather boring 90 minutes of recitation and breathe life into the experiences in all their orgasmic glory—complete with audible sound effects. At times, during the audience-produced sequences, they have difficulty trying not to laugh.

While most of the stories are light and airy, there is a short sequence concerning the darker side of relations, including a forced rape on prom night. For the most part, the show moves along very quickly and in some cases with quite a bit of titillation. Assisting the four onstage are swings Michaela Bennett and Antonio DeJesus.

The four actors really get into the spirit of the play as they fire dialog off of each other, in some cases repeating the same circumstances two or three times (Ford Pintos seem to have been the car of choice for a lot of first time romantic encounters).

As with anything dealing with human beings, this show is rife with the contrariness of life. For some, it was the best of times, for others it was the worst of times, and for still others it left no indelible mark whatsoever. Be sure to get to the theater early in order to fill out the questionnaire and, more importantly, to watch the hilarious PowerPoint presentation of famous "first time" quotes from various notables, old and new.

My First Time, through April 29, 2018, in the Studio Theater at the Beck Center for the Arts, 17801 Detroit Rd., Lakewood OH. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.beckcenter.org or by calling 216-521-2540.


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