"Beginner's luck" is the phrase assigned to rookies or newbies when they do exceptionally well at any given task. However, there are no instances of beginner's luck when it comes to one's first time in bed.
The first time someone steps into the sexual arena it is often filled with mistakes, awkward moments and, unfortunately, a fair share of heartbreak. Just like everything else in life, it takes a little bit of practice for it to get better.
"My First Time," written by off-Broadway director/producer Ken Davenport ("Kinky Boots," "Altar Boyz," "The Awesome 80s Prom"), is a theatrical adaptation of a situation unique to early Internet culture in the late 1990s. The website, myfirstime.com, was a proto-blog that became an underground online phenomenon. It was, and remains, an open platform where anyone can anonymously post the story of a first sexual encounter. Archaic in design by today's standards, the site is an encapsulation of society's growing pains as a culture that hadn't yet reached its digital potential.
Approximately 40,000 posts, filled with tender, awkward and hilarious moments, inform the Village Repertory Company's production of "My First Time." With dozens of sexual romps sandwiched onto the stage of the Woolfe Street Playhouse, an indomitable cast of four actors (Peter Spearman, McKenna DuBose, Patrick Arnheim and Liz Coralli) deliver a lifetime's worth of sex, tears, fears and love in one night of hilarious and illuminating theatre.
The quartet members discuss a cornucopia of virginal experiences like a seasoned jazz quartet, reacting and adapting to each other's stories and tossing off rapid-fire exchanges. Each actor steps in front of the group to deliver a endearing and impassioned solo monologue.
These true-story confessionals from the site run the sexual gamut in type and location: heterosexual, homosexual, multiple partners, teenagers, friends, middle-aged virgins, incest, in cars, on basement floors, in a hot tub and in bed. Fortunately, the ensemble was well-equipped and handled each anecdote as if it were their own person "first time" tale. For every young-love story filled with giddy hormones there was a story that dealt with somber issues, such as rape, regret and female objectification.
Even though everyone yearns for sex, religious and social mores often ensure that most of us have our hangups about it. Thanks to the cast and the tight direction by Robbie Thomas, the guilt of sex and taboos vanish. All that remains is a smile, a hearty laugh, and an enlightened sense of one's own sexual history.
And as in Madonna's song "Like a Virgin" (that plays before the show, along with classics by Marvin Gaye, Foreigner and Salt-and-Pepper), the production's frank, unassuming and honest take on sexuality made, "me feel I've nothing to hide."
Nick Reichert is a Goldring Arts Journalist from Syracuse University.