Rebecca Hetherington and Jordan Mahar on First Date

Opening last week in Melbourne, Pursued by Bears’ production of First Date introduces us to principal characters Casey and Aaron as they embark on a blind date. I had the privilege of speaking to Rebecca Hetherington and Jordon Mahar, the actors bringing Casey and Aaron to life, about all things First Date.

The first thing Rebecca Hetherington told me was that it’s more than the typical love-at-first-sight story, and that she believes the show has “a lot of truth to it.”

The stars of First Date
The stars of First Date

“Basically, Casey and Aaron are set up by a mutual friend to go on a blind date together. As the date unfolds, they each receive visits from some imaginary guests, including Aaron’s ex-girlfriend, his grandma Ida, Casey’s sister, and even their future son.

“The date is filled with awkward moments, laughter, and every other part of a first date, good and bad. The big question though, is whether a date between two very different people ends in romance or not.”

First Date premiered on Broadway in 2013, but Pursued by Bear have chosen to update the setting of their show to the here and now. Originally set in a busy New York restaurant, Casey and Aaron now meet in Melbourne’s own Fitzroy.

As the show unfolds, audiences are introduced to the inner workings of the characters and their fears and foibles, some of which Mahar feels he shares with his character.

“We both don’t have a lot of experience with first dates, and the idea of them makes us nervous. But we’re also both open books and honest with people that we care about.”

Pursued by Bear. First Date
Pursued by Bear. First Date

Hetherington mentions that the main similarities between herself and her character are that they are both young, single women looking for love, and that the show has taught her, “[…] not to judge a book by its cover when it comes to dating.”

I asked Hetherington and Mahar what their own ideal first date would be, wondering if Aaron and Casey’s date would make the cut. While Mahar was happy with the classic combination of dinner and a show, Hetherington offered a very specific response.

“Ryan Gosling, horse riding on a beach, then dinner and cocktails under the stars.”

First Date opened on the 2nd of September and runs until the 11th of September at Chapel off Chapel. Tickets can be found at this link.

Maddi Ostapiw

Maddi is a performer who has been too scared to stand in the spotlight for the last few years, so she channels her need for love and appreciation into writing about the theatre instead. An energetic consumer of musical theatre, she is currently earning a degree in journalism and teaches voice in her small hometown. Maddi is normally covered in cat fur, has an opinion on everything, and in the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda, is not throwing away her shot.

Maddi Ostapiw

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