Interview - Tyrell Crews - My First Time

by Wil Knoll · 0 comments

“I just ran around the house like an insane person, like a supervillan”.

Tyrell Crews doesn’t come across insane at all.

If anything, he would be playing the everyman who fumbles into the position of a superhero all the while fussing with his hair and looking flustered.

But we’re talking about first times. His upcoming show, My First Time by Ken Davenport and produced by Ground Zero Theatre and Hit & Myth Cabaret, runs through April 10th in The Studio at Vertigo. It’s a show that tours us through numerous first sexual encounters. The embarrassing, the ethereal, and the excruciating.

Brenda, Tyrell’s mother, adds “He was all for weeks ‘He He Ha Ha Ha!’, and it’s like ‘Yeah, he’s loving this’”

We were not currently talking about his first sexual encounter.

While an attempt will be made to talk about that later, we are talking about the different assorted first times of Tyrell’s acting career. The maniacal laughter was not celebrating a successful first conquest, but practice for a role in Grade 10 as a Pink Panther villan.

Tyrell had wanted to be an actor from a young age. Brenda comments that he would change his mind on a daily basis before grade six, going between fireman and other normal childhood ambitions. But around grade six something clicked and he started with acting. “His teachers started to come up to me and say he’s really got something there”.

And Tyrell has something in Calgary. With successful seasons including playRite’s, main stages for ATP and Theatre Calgary, he is no virgin to the scene here anymore. He remembers his first time of really feeling like he was a part of it, during Lord Arthur at Vertigo. He recounts a feeling of acceptance among other emotions.

“Someone who I respected and admired came to me, wanted to work with me. The scale of the show, how big it was! Just knowing the work that I put in, being in a cast, the youngest dude, but working with people that I had watched for years. Knowing the caliber of work that is in all of their repertoires and to be able to share the stage with them, as a peer, and focus on the work.”

The current show may or may not include a little bit of input from the audience, which made me wonder if Tyrell’s first time would be included, either in the cannon of the show or part of the audience input.

“Mine wasn’t there, but I can relate to the same feeling of awkwardness and being incredibly shy. It’s universal. You’ve had that first time experience, no matter who’s talking, you can relate to that, or you’ve seen that, or you’ve met that person.”

“There’s a million stories that we are telling in this one seventy minute show. And each of them as different as the people walking the street. We all understand that we need to be gentle and silent when the Ryan Luhning (the director) and whoever have a conversation about God Knows What being the most embarrassed you’ve ever been in your life. We get dead serious when we need to be, but we can also throw everything into the air to see what works in that.”

And it seems to be doing well. Previews sold out. Buzz has been good. I’m going to try and catch it this week.

Sitting with Tyrell and Brenda, I had to ask a bit about their first times. Brenda declined comment. Asked if Tyrell had shared his first time with his Brenda, he declined comment. Although tight lipped, they both remembered some conversations about sex when it was time to have them. “You were even younger than eight” Brenda starts “Remember when we rented that movie at the library”.

Tyrell tries. It’s a mix of images. A duck in a bubble bath. The duck’s parents likened sex to “a big shiver”. Then the duck moves more into a trippy series of visuals, or at least Tyrell’s memory paints it that way. “Here’s the mother, the woman, and she has breasts. Then they just start bouncing, and then she’s in the car, and there’s a baby there, breast feeding, and then the baby’s face fades and it’s eyes turn out to be sperm in a pool…”

And that was my first time hearing anyone else’s experience of discussing sex with their parents. It wasn’t anything like mine, but the feelings of awkwardness were universal.

My First Time
By Ken Davenport

A Ground Zero Theatre / Hit&Myth Cabaret
Runs through April 10, 2022
The Studio at Vertigo Theatre Centre


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