Review: The Silicone Diaries (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre)

By Sam Mooney

Nina Arsenault isn’t your average Barbie doll

Last night two friends and I saw The Silicone Diaries – created and performed by Nina Arsenault – at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.  I’ve been thinking about the show all day and am still not really sure what to say.  Both my friends loved it.  Judith said that it was a theatre piece that she would remember forever.  Bredgeen identified with the idea of fitting in and being accepted.

The Silicone Diaries is Arsenault’s narrative about her journey from being a gawky young man to being a beautiful young woman.  The piece goes far beyond the idea of a woman inside a man’s body.  It’s about achieving a perceived ideal beauty and the lengths that one person was willing to go in order to be beautiful.

And she is beautiful.  I was surprised at just how beautiful.

Imagine Barbie with really big hair, tons of artfully applied make-up, wearing a skin-tight see-through rubber dress.  That’s the Nina Arsenault we met last night. Barbie to a T. Now think of the cutting and sculpting you’d have to do to turn Ken into Barbie.  Nowhere near the work Nina had done.

Nina’s performance includes her body in a way that we don’t often see.  In a way this is like an art installation.  Her body is a sculpture, the narrative is the back story. Her performance is hyper-feminine, very studied, I’ve never seen anyone sip water as delicately. In the talk back after the show Nina talked about her admiration of geishas and in a way the performance is quite geishalike.


– The Silicone Diaries runs until December 11, 2010 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre – 12 Alexander Streeet.
– Performances are Tuesday through Sunday at 8 pm
– Tickets are $19.00 to $33.00 and are available online, by phone at  416.975.8555, or in person at the box office.

Photo of Nina Arsenault by David Hawe