Expectations lowered, I found my second go-round with My First Time here at Actor's Theatre more pleasurable than my rendezvous with the off-Broadway original at New World Stages late in 2008. You still won't find anything like the hard-breathing porn that dominates myfirsttime.com, the website that Ken Davenport pillaged for his script. Nudity does not happen. Nor will you -- or anyone else in the audience -- risk embarrassment by filling out the cards ushers thrust at you before admitting you into the hall.
One huge warning is in order. Subtly, in his own weirdly ingratiating way, Davenport is trying to subvert the shameless hedonism at the core of American life. Evidence of Davenport's insidious moral agenda is apparent in the clean language of these narratives and the disproportionate number of testimonies he has culled from the website that deal with exceptional cases of violence and death. More damning still is the fact that, among the nearly 50,000 stories now available, Davenport has likely exhumed every single one submitted by virgins. Ugly, pathetic, noble, and chaste get more voice here than the Web site. Beautiful, seedy, and spectacularly graphic? Not so much.
A Davenport makeover of myfirsttime.com would probably lose its "Top 25 Sites" seal from Playboy.
But there are other reasons that I enjoyed the Actor's Theatre production better than the New World's. Our own naughty Chip Decker is directing instead of Davenport, and his cast of two men and two women is more knowing, more spontaneous, and more integrated.
Raspy-voiced Ryan Stamey, the on-call wild man at Actor's Theatre, is the most familiar member of the cast. The more angelic Biniam Tekola, whose Metrolina sightings onstage are far rarer, complements Stamey perfectly. Contrast isn't as radical between the ladies. Nor does it need to be, with endearing work from Shon Wilson and Carrie Cranford, neither of whom can be accused of shaking excess booty.
There was an unusually large contingent of seniors at the Saturday night performance. Except perhaps for reasons of incontinence, none of them walked out. Caveat emptor!