Looking for something to do in Toronto this week? Check out
Nina Arsenault’s solo show, The Silicone Diaries, at Buddies in Bad Times
When I first heard about the production more than a year ago,
I suspected it might be a dreary victim’s manifesto; an I-will-survive,
woe-is-me tale of marginalization and hardship. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s Arsenault’s life story, a personal journey from boy to
girl to living work-of-art mannequin. It’s gritty, fascinating, sexy and funny.
Arsenault’s intelligence, sense of humour, grit and ego really shine through. It’s
Xtra writer Chris Dupuis did a cover story on Silicone
Diaries for Xtra Toronto last year when the show first premiered. Check it out
here. And Xtra writer Cate Simpson reviewed the show. See her account here.
Since then Arsenault has toured the show extensively and
earned some great press and strong reviews.
I saw the show most recently on this engagement’s opening
night, Nov 25. In the year since I’d seen it previously, Arsenault
polished her presentation and the pace of the story, creating a
I can’t resist recounting this: on the 25th, some poor, unfortunate soul in the audience was taken
ill about 15 minutes into Arsenault’s monologue. The sicky fled the theatre,
but not without first dramatically disgorging a good portion of the contents of
her stomach in that little pool of light directly between the stage and the
audience. Can you imagine blowing chunks in front of a room full of people? It is
surely one of life’s most embarrassing moments. She must have been mortified,
the poor thing. But if you’re going to lose your lunch in a crowd, you might as
well do it in front of your community.
Arsenault, who was then in the middle of describing the
injection of raw silicone gel into her hips, handled it like a pro. After the
retching and splattering sounds subsided, she waited a few beats before telling
the audience simply, “It’s intense.” The show went on, and I’m told the
scene-stealing pukester recovered quickly.
That’s the thing about Buddies: you never know what’s going
The Silicone Diaries runs through Dec 11 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto. Tickets, showtimes and more info here.