In the First Place- Review
Teenage sexuality. Adults don’t want to think about it, and many times try to suppress it, but teenagers are sexual beings too and want to talk about their experiences. In the First Place, presented by Insight Theater, gives seven Ottawa teenagers the chance to tell stories of their various “firsts” and to show that this means so much more to them than just sex.
Each performer gets the chance to go in front of the audience at the Bytowne Museum (A+ for BYO venue choice) and present their various stories in a monologue, as the others wait their turns in the audience and support each other. Most of the reaction came from the other performers, who have surely heard these stories repeatedly by now, but still were there for each other, having fun in the experience together. It was wonderful to see such enthusiasm for what they were doing as these are the up and coming theater youth of the city.
The stories themselves were lovely to hear; a great mix of funny, serious, and all very poignant. Telling of thing such as, first kiss, first love, first blowjob, first time having sex, and first time enjoying sex, the collective “firsts” gave a great example of what the teenage sexual experience is like. Even though some very serious matters were brought up such as pregnancy, miscarriages and sexual abuse, these things were merely a part of their stories rather than what the whole monologue was about. This was my favorite part, as they didn’t let their trials define who they are or the story that they have to tell. The only real issue with the piece was that the direction by Luna Allison had some of the performers illustrating their monologues (would sit as they talked about how they sat) and using props that really didn’t feel necessary. As a fan of true realism, I believe that when the stories are real, they should be presented as they are. Adding these elements to the monologues didn’t add to the validity of the stories, but rather took away that raw sense of reality that the stories gave.
Overall, the concept of In the First Place is one that needs to be explored more. Kudos to Insight for taking that step, and to all of the young performers, whose passion and willingness to share is inspiring.