A storyteller of epic proportions that delivers a performance that sincerely makes you forget you are watching a play.
The Silicone Diaries does not just tell the tale of an awkward man’s transformation into a 36D-26-40 bombshell, as press releases would have you believe. It is much more than that. Nina Arsenault scrapes at philosophical notions of personal identity while giving audiences insight into a world filled with silicone oozing ‘manholes’ that can only be sealed by superglue – a universe where reality is truly what you make of it and even where rock stars like Tommy Lee can be taken in by the surgically altered allure of a transsexual’s voluptuous body.
After hundreds of thousands of dollars and sixty cosmetic surgeries and procedures, Arsenault stands before you, a breathtaking manifestation of creativity and persistence.
As the performance steams ahead past her early childhood and into her first few years in the porn world, Arsenault relives the clickety clacks of her online escapades and virtual relationships – carefully weaving through anecdotes of online mystery men, trips to Vegas and San Francisco and finally to her first silicone injections. She shares with us the inside scoop on who the alphas of the Transsexual pack are and what it means to be accepted into that world.
According to Arsenault, “Beauty is something some women are lucky to be born with. Beauty is supposed to be natural, but if you weren’t lucky enough to be born with it then you’re called superficial for pursuing it.”
Arsenault frames this question of what beauty really is quite provocatively by establishing the idea that society today does not see beauty as natural but as a combination of the real and the fake. This premise shakes the very foundations of tradition and begins to pave a new path for what technology and innovation have begun to carve out as beautiful in a hyper globalized and quickly changing world.
Arsenault grasps at the concerns, which innately grow in her as she begins to wonder what will happen as time undoes her physical transformation. She must come to terms with not only her outer self but also her inner self as well. Arsenault must at some point be able to look in the mirror without the colours, glitter and stylistic modifications which take her over two hours each morning to create.
What is intoxicating about The Silicone Diaries is that it is not merely about the flat story of Arsenault’s physical journey but that it also sheds light on the very human concerns and mysteries of what is to come for the aging beauty of the plastic and silicone transformation.
The Silicone Diaries is an exceptional work that gives an interesting perspective not only into Nina Arsenault’s tremendous life but also into what it means to be human.
(out of five)
Review by. Ricardo Khayatte | Photos by. David Hawe
The Silicone Diaries is now playing @ The Cultch. For more information check out: http://www.thecultch.com/content/view/330/490/
WHEN: Feb 14-19, 21-25: 8PM
WHERE: HISTORIC THEATRE AT THE CULTCH , 1895 Venables Street, at Victoria Drive