I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I went to go see My First Time, a play produced by Actors Theater of Minnesota and playing at Camp Cabaret in St. Paul. I was expecting an interactive comedy in the same vein as The Awesome 80s Prom, which the playwright Ken Davenport also created. I was surprised to find that the show was not really a comedy at all—although it did have comedic moments.
The play is based on stories from Myfirsttime.com, a website where people can write in anonymously about their first experiences “doing it”. Created in 1998, the website features some stories that are hilarious, some that are heartfelt, some that are crude, and some that are downright horrifying.
|my first time, presented at camp bar through october 10. for tickets ($24) and information, see actorsmn.org|
The play is performed by four actors—Josh Carson, Keri Bunkers, Michael Terrell Brown, and Aly Westberg—who directly address the audience. The actors for the most part handle the material sincerely and honestly, so that the experiences speak for themselves without any heavy-duty theatrical treatment. The stories range from very sweet—like when two best friends discover each other at a sleepover—to sinister, covering such topics as prostitution, incest, and rape. The actors do a good job navigating through the widespread terrain of emotions, while displaying excellent timing at the more lighthearted moments.
The one thing I didn’t like about the show was the interactive element. Audience members were asked to fill out questionnaires about their first times and submit them. The actors dealt with the improvisation portion of the show comedically, which didn’t quite jive with some of the things that people had written on their sheets.
Still, for the most part I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was engaged throughout the show. Director John Haynes keeps the staging simple, which lets the stories speak for themselves, and the talented cast do a good job of taking the audience on a journey.