Walking into the Woolfe Street Playhouse the audience was fittingly greeted with the sounds of the Divinyls “I Touch Myself” and Salt-N-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex.” Each attendee was given a note card to submit their own sexual stats: Are you a virgin? Yes or No? Where did you lose your virginity? What was your partner’s name? From what I could tell, the majority of the audience filled them out willingly, as the forms were anonymous. That said, the info was eventually used and quite revealing — more on that later.
Above the spartan set made up of four high top seats, a PowerPoint flipped through quotes and sex factoids. Like, did you know more people lose their virginity in the month of June than any other month? Or that George Carlin famously said, “Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity”? Folks watched while sipping wine, chuckling at various bits of information, taking in the visual foreplay before the main event. But just as everyone was, ahem, in the mood, director Robbie Thomas jumped on stage and crashed it. I understand that directors often want to introduce a show, but why? Like a cellphone ringing in the middle of sex, his five minute speech — which awkwardly included asking an audience member, “Are you going to talk through the whole show?” — was a buzzkill. When the cast of four finally took the stage, it took a moment to recover.
Luckily the ensemble of Patrick Arnheim, Liz Coralli, McKenna DuBose, and Peter Spearman quickly got the audience worked up again launching into tales all culled from the website MyFirstTime.com. That’s right, every story shared, from the guy who lost his V-Card in his college radio booth to the girl who douched with a certain classic soda (dear God!), were supposedly true. And that’s where the humanity comes in. Sex is a universal experience, universally ridiculous, universally startling, and at best, universally life changing. For humor, it was Arnheim and Coralli who really entertained. Coralli’s dry delivery never missed a beat, even when speaking about a painful first time experience. DuBose on the other hand, had one of the toughest monologues, a tale of incest, which she managed to tactfully navigate. And credit should go to Spearman too for playing the dorky novice with such giddy excitement it felt all too familiar.
Vividly familiar in fact, especially when the info from those note cards were revealed. On Saturday night, the audience members on average lost their virginity at age 17.8. Incidentally the average for most Americans is 15.8.
But while the stories and statistics were all entertaining, the structure of the show, monologues bookended with dialogue, made for a few slower moments. Basically, the pacing could have used a kick to really (can’t help myself) climax. But sometimes that’s how it goes right? Not every time can be hot and bothered. Some times are slow and sweet, others downright silly. This isn’t 50 Shades of Grey, that’s for sure. This play is real, and for anyone wanting to relive their own first time, My First Time offers a good time whether you're a virgin or not.