“We’re bringin’ sexy back” is the theme that City Lights Theater Company proudly proclaims of its 2010-2011 season, which commenced last week with the South Bay premiere of Bill Aronson’s First Day of School. A satirical farce targeting sex and the social awkwardness that often accompanies it, this is a play that does indeed “bring sexy back.”
The action takes place on the first day of school in a suburban community. A married couple, Susan and David (played by Diahanna Davidson and Tom Gough), have just dropped their kids off at school. Their PTA event has been canceled, leaving them with several hours to kill before class lets out for the day, so they decide to do something they have both wanted to do for a long time: have sex with other people.
Susan and David aren’t exactly swingers; in fact, we don’t get the impression that they have ever done anything like this before. They’re simply normal folks who are open about sex, and the real comedy starts when they begin to proposition the other parents at school. Susan sets her sights on Peter (Rich Miller), while David pursues Kim (Mandy Manousos) and Alice (Courtney Walsh). The reactions they get to their direct line of approach (for example, when David nonchalantly drops “Do you want to have sex with me?” into the middle of a conversation about the school music program) are varied, but always awkward and incredibly funny.
After what is probably the most entertaining set change you’re likely to see anytime soon, the second act begins. It’s not long before all the characters have found their way to Susan and David’s house, where things get even more awkward for everyone, except for Susan and David, who stand there, bewildered at their guests’ neurotic behavior.
Playwright Aronson is perhaps best known for his role in creating Rent (he came up with the original concept, but ultimately did not write the famous musical, which was recently staged at City Lights). Aronson has also contributed to a number of children’s TV programs, including Courage the Cowardly Dog, Reading Rainbow and Wonder Pets. This background shows in First Day of School, despite its mature subject matter. Fun is had and, in the end, lessons are learned—it’s almost like a children’s story, but with more complexity.
Thursday-Saturday at 8pm; Sun at 2 or 7pm
Runs through Oct. 24
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