Rarely Done romps through ‘My First Time’

My First Time
Who Rarely Done Productions
Where 411 E. Washington St. Syracuse
When April 13-28
Tickets $20
Mature Audiences
Review by Lauren Smart

When I took my seat in the audience at CNY Jazz Central, I was handed a survey.

“Are you a Virgin?” was the first question. If you checked no, questions followed, including “Who was your first partner?” “Did you feel pressured into sex?” “Do you stay in touch?”

If you checked yes, the survey ends and you might feel the desire to ask for a refund.

My First Time is a play based on a web forum on which people share their stories of first sexual experiences, both good and bad. The play casually tells these stories, spicing up the transitions between them with statistics about sex from the audience and from more scientific sources.

The allure of sex universally binds humans and Ken Davenport compiled a variety of stories covering all aspects of our experiences. From romance to rape and everything in between.

Under Dan Tursi’s direction, the cast of four tackles these stories with heart, only stooping to exaggeration in a few of the stories about late-in-life virgins.

The two women in this production are powerhouses. Marguerite Mitchell uses girlish innocence to tell sweet, occasionally heartbreaking stories about first love, allowing one of the play’s weirder moments, in which a girl is intimate with her dying brother, to ring true. Aubry Panek approaches her stories from a variety of tones, bringing humor to the subject.

The men (Paul Steffens and Darian Sundberg) have the challenge of occasionally shifting from the supportive best friend, the love sick virgin and in some of the more violent stories –the aggressor.

Each story presents new characters and new situations, some more familiar than others. But Rarely Done broaches a difficult subject with a hopeful voice, encouraging the audience to be more open about sex, and perhaps a little bit more free.

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