How to Be A Virgin (in 12 morally ambiguous steps)

comedy · lucid dramatics · Ages 17+ · United States of America

world premiere
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Review by ERIK BLAIR

June 10, 2016 certified reviewer

What I liked

  • Katelyn Schiller: From the moment you walk into the intimate Studio C space, she’s actively in-character and engaging you as our “virgin” – and she’s electric from that first instant through the final breath of the show. Her performance of the story of this 30-year-old virgin and how she got there is illuminating, captivating and often quite surprisingly funny. There are also moments that are suddenly dark, shockingly sad and that I think will resonate with most audience members—even though of us who have long ago left that particular aspect of our sexual life behind.
  • Joshua Bross: In shows like these, the “other person” who supports the main actor is often left out—and yet they are often tasked with playing multiple characters, many times with only a few lines or a brief costume change or posture alteration to represent the vast multitude of people they are supposed to be. In this production, Joshua plays 14 different characters—and he nails, absolutely NAILS each and every one of them and I think that deserves MASSIVE praise. Without his exceptional job, Katelyn’s performance would falter, and he is equally responsible for this show being as good as it is.
  • The Direction: Payden Ackerman’s directing does exactly what all good directing should do—it nearly vanishes into the mist, making the actors look incredible and the words and themes fly into the audience as though they were happening once and one only ever in the world. But there are some very smart decisions being made for this space and for this production, and Payden has done a great job of staging here, using an intimate space’s limitations in a way that made them into a great strength visually. It’s but one of several very, very smart moves he makes throughout the show that I was appreciated.

What I didn't like

My overall impression

Virginity is a big deal. Crossing that line means something for men—and even more, most people would say, for women. So if a woman reaches 30 and hasn’t yet lost hers, is that strange? Funny? Sad? Lonely? Come see this fantastic play and you’ll see that the answer is all of this—and none—and somewhere in-between.

I wasn’t sure exactly what I was in for when I walked into the lovely and intimate Studio C space for this show. But there was Katelyn Schiller, already our prime innocent adult, prepped with her slide projector of important “virgin data”, telling me where to sit and breaking down any sense of separation between herself and the audience.

What a smart, smart move.

Because that’s what this show is about:

This is the tale of how a woman reaches 30 without ever quite having sex. Her journey is varied. Her reasons are many. Her story is her own and in context makes absolute sense. But for us to follow it—for us to understand it—we need to be involved. We need to be close. We need to essentially be IN HER SHOES. And by breaking that wall at the beginning of the show—by never letting us even BEGIN by being separate, that’s exactly what happens. Absolutely genius as an idea and it works wonders throughout the entire show.

The two-person cast is fantastic and they tell the story of our virgin with care, love and honesty. Over and over, I saw Katelyn making connections with audience members directly, reaching out to them with her eyes and making sure they understood what she was thinking and feeling—and I saw how many of them responded, how much of this story echoed their own lives in moments, even though very, VERY few of us have lived anything like the 2% of people who reach 30 while still not having had sex. It was a fascinating hour to see and a show that I enjoyed immensely.

From the directing to the script to the performances, this is a great, great show. Done with subtlety, grace and charm, it’s one that I found very appealing and full of life. Most definitely a show that deserves every audience it gets.

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