things i wrote before my first kiss

The Apothecary, 1013 7th St, NW.

Remaining Performances:

Saturday, July 17, 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, July 18, 7:45 p.m.
Sunday, July 25, 4:30 p.m.

They say: “Everyone has a first kiss.  It’s a life changing milestone.  You are one step closer to being an adult and leaving adolescence behind.  Do you remember who were you before your first kiss?  Have you ever gone back to visit that person?  He or she still lives in old diaries locked with tiny gold keys, in black and white composition books and in notes passed between friends during class.  The younger you wrote poems and love letters, maybe even a song or two.”

Sheffy’s take: The runtime posted in the Fringe guide is 90 minutes.  Mercifully, it was a mere 45 minutes; it just felt like it was twice as long while sitting in the show.  The dewy-eyed description above also gave me the misimpression that this show would playfully reminisce about innocent crushes and puppy love.  No, the title is meant to be taken more literally: Lazy B Theatre Troupe acts out stories that just happened to have been committed to paper before the event of writer/director Pamela Leahigh’s first kiss, which, based on the maturity of her writings, I’m guessing was quite young.

To her credit, Leahigh is a very talented storyteller, and she brackets her staged teleplays with very engaging personal stories from her salad days.  But then she contrives some pretense of why we are being subjected to a dejected 13-year-old’s recollection of an episode of 21 Jump Street. Presumably, the acting in this section is deliberately poor, but the production protects the actors’ anonymity through its lack of a playbill.  It was so abysmal, I was just waiting for them to break out in song: “Springtime for Hitler!”

I don’t know if two years of maturity improved the writing for the episode of Doogie Howser, or if it was just my expectations being dulled.  At the time, Leahigh submitted her scripts to the TV studios, but like so many aspiring young writers, her work was not appreciated.  I’m going to give Lazy B the benefit of the doubt — they are self-aware that they aren’t producing Tony Award material, but that they are using the freedom of Fringe to let us get (back) into the head of teenagers through their writing.  At least this show provides a G-rated counterweight to the raunchier shows weighing down the Fringe karmic accounting scale.

See it if: You’ve always wanted to have your 90 seconds of fame in a Fringe show (No joke—audience members are invited to share something they wrote before their first kiss.  I suppose most people carry old sentimental love letters in their pockets just in case they’re invited to read them aloud for an audience of strangers).

Skip it if:Your heart doesn’t instinctively pitter patter when you think of Johnny Depp in 21 Jump Street, or if you can’t remember what Doogie Howser’s profession was.