FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL Reviewed by Jeff Smith


Reviewed by Jeffrey R Smith of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle

Community involvement is always a two-edged sword: on the one hand, you sit at a committee meeting, ostensibly talking about fund raising i.e. how to painlessly pick your own pocket, while mentally you are disrobing and lusting for two or three of the other committee members.

On the other hand your adolescent, puer eternis, fantasy ego is hoping at least one committee member is equally lusting for you and, after adjournment, will follow you out to the parking lot or bike rack to strike up a Mephistophelean bargain.

Rarely however, does anyone actually get to close escrow: reality always has a way of reasserting itself and trumping even our noblest instincts and most chimerical fugues.

If modern pharmaceuticals have provided you with the equipage of a nineteen year old in rut or estrus; while age and experience have reduced your moral fibers down to balsa wood toothpicks, then the FIRST DAY A SCHOOL is a great opportunity to trace that sinewy freeway from unbridled eroticism and sexual abandon to the inevitable slough of ennui and self loathing.

Written by the award winning Billy Aronson, FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL unmasks what may be the true motivations behind community involvement: the last singles bar and watering hole of the encumbered middle class.

Like Pied Pipers, Zehra Berkman and Bill English lead this fantasy piece from blunt first encounter—"Do you want to have sex with me?"—down that slippery slope to expectation, demands, familiarity, disappointment and the routine.

As the expression goes, "All marriages are essentially same sex marriages: it's the same sex day after day."

Tragically, it seems that the same trajectory applies to orgies.

Based on this play, the glide path holds true even for group gropes that recruit from the better PTAs.

Five community stalwarts eagerly become five consenting adults in this farcical adult fantasy piece that explores intimacy haunted by estrangement.

Directed by Chris Smith, the action is frenetic but ironically leads to a metaphorical nowhere: the characters who have invested heavily in "sexual gambits hoping to find something in the arms (or the loins) of others to sustain themselves in the empty world of daily routine" find that even their sexual gambit has a way of becoming routine and mundane.

Many of us would like the opportunity to discover that tons of money cannot buy happiness, so too would we like to learn that unleashing our libidos will not lead to fulfillment.

Rarely does farce so successfully weld comedy with truth as in this play.

If you have designs on a soccer mom or dad, an executive member of the PTA, School Site Council, or School Board, this hilarious show could keep you from disgracefully ship wrecking, self immolating, within your own community and having to sell your home in a bear market.

The life lessons, or perhaps in your case, the Cassandra warnings, mixed with riotous comedy and a tasteful erotic burnish, make this play a must.

Before you leap onto any pyres get thee to FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL at the San Francisco Playhouse.

Tickets can be purchased via or by calling 415-677-9596.