My First Time

Circa One, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

04/09/2010 - 02/10/2010

Production Details

4 actors. 40,000 stories. One of them may be yours. 

My First Time is an international hit comedy featuring four amazing actors in hysterical and heartbreaking stories about first sexual experiences written by real people . . . just like you!

First sexual experiences are one of the few things that almost every single person on this planet has in common, yet we rarely talk about them. Until now . . .

My First Time opens in CIRCA One on Saturday 4th September at 8pm, and runs until 2nd October. 

In 1998, a decade before blogging began, a website was created that allowed people to anonymously share their own true stories about their First Times. It became an instant phenomenon as stories poured in from around the globe – stories that were silly, sweet, absurd, funny, shy, sexy and everything in between. 

Now these true stories, and all of the unique characters in them, are brought to life in My First Time.

Ken Davenport, who created the play from the website and who also directed and produced the first production, has said, “Your First Time is one of the very few things that almost every single person has experienced no matter where you come from or where you live. To me it’s a unifying experience.” And while he has made a conscious effort to represent a diversity of experiences, ages, and backgrounds, with the stories he has chosen for the play, the words themselves are directly from the contributors to the website. “I’ve clipped things out and fixed some grammar, but otherwise not a single word has been changed,” said Ken. 

My First Time has been a phenomenal success, running for over two and a half years Off-Broadway in New York, where the play finally closed early this year. 

This play is perfect for seeing with friends. My First Timewill have you laughing and reminiscing about your own first time . . . and thinking about your next one. 

Starring Judith Gibson, Danielle Mason, Aaron Alexander, Simon Vincent

My First Time. . . I’ll tell you mine, if you tell me yours.

“One of New York’s best new plays … Phenomenal” – Edge, NY
“Provocative, amusing and moving” – New York Post 

You too can join the fun … visit our special website:

My First Time
Circa Theatre
4th September – 2nd October
$20 SPECIALS: Friday 3rd September, 8pm; Sunday 5th September, 4pm 
AFTER SHOW FORUM – Tuesday 7th September 
Performance times: Tuesday & Wednesday – 6.30pm; Thursday, Friday, Saturday – 8pm
Sunday – 4pm
Ticket Prices:  Adults – $38; Concessions – $30; Friends of Circa – $28; Under 25s – $20;  Groups 6+ – $32 
BOOKINGS: Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki Street, Wellington
Phone 801 7992 


Lighting Design:  ULLI BRIESE

Stage Manager:  Isaac Heron
Technical Operator:  Ulli Briese
Sound:  Jeremy Cullen, Ross Jolly
Video Design:  Rob Ormsby
Publicity:  Claire Treloar
Graphic Design:  Rose Miller, Parlour
Photography:  Stephen A’Court
House Manager:  Suzanne Blackburn
Box Office Manager:  Linda Wilson

1hr 30min, no interval

Slick show goes on too long, unlike its theme

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 07th Sep 2010

For the first night of My First Time there was a much younger and more animated audience than is usual for a Circa opening night; as a friend commented, they could probably still remember their first time.

On entering the theatre the audience is greeted by the actors wearing white lab coats. I thought for a moment that we taking part in a Kinsey-like research programme. However, they were only handing out pens and a questionnaire asking us to be part of the show and to tell about our first time (it’s not compulsory). You can also win a prize, presumably at the end of the season, but a winner could be hard to find if every questionnaire is anonymous.

Many of the audience responses in the questionnaire become part of the show later on. The answers to ‘Where were you when you lost your virginity?’ ranged from on a concrete step to Palmerston North, a place the audience seemed to think was as uncomfortable and much funnier than a concrete step for a first time.

The machine gun rapidity of the dialogue, which must be hell to learn and which the cast rattle off with aplomb, slows down every now and then for a brief monologue or duologue. Most are amusing (“He kept his socks on!”), some go into details we really don’t need to know, and some briefly change the mood so that we cover all bases with gay, lesbian and paraplegic first times as well as when a young woman is raped.

The possibilities of disease or pregnancy are barely considered and a preacher advocating abstinence before marriage is seen, if not as a figure of fun, then as an oddity. The final jokey message flashed on the screen behind the actors underlines the show’s lack of serious intent: having got over the all-important first time maybe now we can all concentrate on what’s really important: the next time.

Aaron Alexander, Judith Gibson, Danielle Mason and Simon Vincent are a well-drilled, attractive team who control the audience reactions with considerable skill in Ross Jolly’s highly polished production.

My First Time, a slick show of mainly comic sound bites, seems to be designed largely for easy laughs and to promote the compiler and his website from which he drew his material. At 90 minutes, and most unlike most if not all first times, it goes on far too long. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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Losing it together

Review by John Smythe 05th Sep 2010

My first time was Off Broadway at New World Stages, Theatre 5, just over a year ago (reviewed here). It was a largely sedentary, repetitive, sort of plastic-coated experience of which I soon tired. Lacklustre. So contemplating seeing this show a next time, albeit with a whole new cast and director in this Circa production, was not a thrilling prospect.

But if My First Time – about how, when and where people lost it – has a moral, it is not to let a disappointing first time taint the times that follow. This Ross Jolly-directed rendition – with Aaron Alexander, Judith Gibson, Danielle Mason and Simon Vincent evoking a multinational multitude of respondents to – is richer in every respect.

For a start their characterisations are strong and true: potent extracts from larger lives. They get off their stools, too, quite often, sometimes engaging in pairs and threesomes to get a story across. The moods and pace are dynamically varied as they offer light, dark, ordinary, extraordinary, sweet, bizarre, horrific and hilarious recollections of virginity lost and ‘experience’ gained in a full spectrum of emotional and mental states .

In a set by John Hodgkins that adds a sky-blue semi-circle to the prescribed four stools below a projection screen, lighting by Ulli Briese, and sound by Jeremy Cullen and Jolly add to the rhythm and texture. Video design by Rob Ormsby delivers statistics, tags each anecdote with its number and location, and adds the odd visual flourish, not least with a climactic montage.

As my New York experience proved, one can easily tire of endless stories about the same old same old despite variations in time, place, age and circumstances, so (as with a good lover) this talented quartet’s skill at maintaining our interest for 90 minutes is not to be taken for granted.

Another element that draws us in, helping us to feel part of the show rather than like voyeurs peering in, is the questionnaire we complete, anonymously, on arrival. This is collected, collated and extrapolated-from, backstage, by stage manager Isaac Heron. The selected summaries he hands to the cast are then quoted-from, to pepper proceedings as the scripted ‘play’ progresses.

I take it these are authentic – because why wouldn’t they be? – except there is something about the way these supposedly fresh interpolations segue back to the script that somehow makes them seem pre-packaged. Perhaps someone has been too clever here.

Given its roots in a website where 75% of the visitors are from the US of A, American stories dominate the plethora of cultures represented but judicious touches of Kiwi voices and venues also help us feel included. The cast add their personal touches at the end, too, which adds to the overall friendly – dare I say intimate? – tone.

Unsurprisingly most of the stories are heterosexual but gay, lesbian and the physically disabled do get memorable mentions among the longer sequences that break up the sound-bites and bring substance to the welter of … ‘snack food’ (I almost said ‘finger food’ – oops).

Virgins and the morally upright (be they uptight or sincerely committed to their values) are also fairly represented so it would be difficult for anyone not to find relevance and feel personally connected to this entertainment. Although it’s not formatted as a play, My First Time does find a common bond with its audience by sharing particular moments of universal experience, and where better than a theatre to do that?  
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


John Smythe September 6th, 2010

Fair call, Martyn – although I’m not sure a show that compares and contrasts a wide variety of examples of this particular rite of passage, to which most adults will relate on a personal level – could be written off as “meaningless pap”. Nevertheless is it something the state should subsidise while crying too poor to fund more creative homegrown works?

martyn roberts September 6th, 2010

 To quote (with substitutions)  " Personally I see no justification in the NZ taxpayer subsidising a theatre that serves up meaningless pap that achieves little more than giving people work and showing off their talents. There are much better ways for creative skills to be applied. 

What interests me, however, is whether the decision to programme My First Time was a function of recent Creative New Zealand policy (which seems – correct me if I’m wrong – to have emphasised bums on seats over the source or quality of the work).  If so, what are the implications for Circa's fortunes given the New Funding Programmes for Multi-Year Arts Investments (assuming Circa would like to get multi-year funding)?"  John Smythe

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