Sunday, May 25, 2008

My First Time (the show)

There great thing about New York, commented an esteemed Columbia professor once, is that there's so much theater not to go to.

Sure enough, I almost never venture down to the Great White Way to see a show. But this is not to say that I don't occasionally. Last night I attended a showing of My First Time, an off-Broadway show about the various ways in which people the world over rid themselves of their virginity. Like any reality TV show, My First Time does not require writers. The script, such as it is, was culled from thousands of posts to a ten-year-old web site that invited people to share their own deflowering stories. To add to the "interactive" nature of the show, audience members are invited to fill in questionnaires about their first times, the statistics of which are flashed on the back wall of the theater from time to time. I filled one in; I wonder if I'm now a member of the Writers' Guild.

My First Time's typical narrative involves confusion, occasional bafflement, embarrassment on both sides, and is generally over in two or three minutes. Many people lost it on Valentine's Day. Basements are popular. Lots of folks were drunk and stoned. Nothing new here.

Only two of the virgin stories stand out in my memory, neither for any erotic value. One was the sad tale of a young woman who was raped and then blamed by her mother for leading her rapist on by going with him to a cheap hotel. The other was narrated by a woman who recounted her younger brother's battle with bone cancer. On a six-hour drive to a medical facility at which her brother would undergo a bone marrow transplant she and her brother were reclined on a mattress that their parents had installed in the back of their station wagon to make the trip easier on him. During a heart-t0-heart the younger brother confessed to his sister, who was four years older, that he didn't want to die a virgin. His sister took pity on him and let him fuck her in the back of the station wagon on the last leg of the drive. He died not long after his transplant. At this point the actress who was channeling the older sister began to convulse in tears, screaming that she didn't want to address the matter of incest, that she'd had pity on a dying man.

So, for all the cute and rather juvenile sex-talk on offer in My First Time, I was vastly more moved by the tragic than the sophomoric. Yes, most men don't last too long when they're fifteen. Coca-Cola is not an effective douche. Teenagers are curious about their bodies. Whatever. None of this is news. Had the show reenacted some of the scenes that were described I might have shown more interest. As it happened, I was more titillated by my subsequent dinner at my favorite Burmese restaurant than by My First Time.

1 comment:

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