Last week, resident sex columnist/leather enthusiast/wooden goose Gary noted that the first time a person has sex, it's usually not that good. In a series of vignettes compiled from stories submitted anonymously to a website, the four performers of My First Time prove that "not that good" can mean comedic gold. What's funnier than fumbling attempts at congress made at exactly the most awkward, unattractive time in a person's life (15.8 years old in the US, according to the show's stats projection)? "Not that good" can also mean tragic abuse and unfathomable self-sacrifice, as the show also demonstrates, but mostly the first time is just funny.
The difficulty inherent in staging a show comprised of vignettes is that the actors have seconds to prepare their various characters and minutes to inhabit them before shaking them off and embodying someone different. All four performers had moments within the play that were very moving or funny, but some (especially Natalie Knepp and Cydnee Welburn) were more adept than others at the quick-notice shapeshifting that the play requires. Dana Watkins, though charming, slips into broad caricature that doesn't elicit much empathy, and Marcel Simoneau speaks so quickly and quietly that he couldn't be understood from the sixth row. The show cleverly incorporates data from the audience present, and the four actors handled the very new material well. My First Time is entertaining and thought-provoking, reaching beyond its gimmick to incite dialogue about the varying degrees of significance of the First Time.
New World Stages, Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm
340 W 50th St
$59 (orchestra), $49 (mezzanine) $25 (mezzanine)