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    Complete archive, 1999-present

    2008-2009 reviews:
  • Anaïs Nin Goes To Hell
  • beast: a parable
  • Blanche Survives Katrina in a FEMA Trailer Named Desire
  • Blasted
  • Buffalo Gal
  • China: The Whole Enchilada
  • The Corn Maiden
  • Crawl, Fade to White
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  • Extraordinary Rendition
  • The First Breeze of Summer
  • Fringe Festival 2008
  • Fringe Festival favorites
  • The Glass Cage
  • Hair
  • Hidden Fees* (A Play About Money)
  • Jailbait
  • King of Shadows
  • The Longest Running Joke of the Twentieth Century
  • Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising
  • Macbeth
  • The Master Builder
  • Missa Solemnis, or The Play About Henry
  • Mourn the Living Hector
  • A Nasty Story
  • Nowadays
  • the october crisis (to laura)
  • Oresteia
  • Other Bodies
  • Prayer
  • Psalms of a Questionable Nature
  • Raised by Lesbians
  • Reasonable Doubt
  • Sleepwalk With Me
  • Small Craft Warnings
  • Something Weird . . . in the Red Room
  • Soul Samurai
  • The Sound of One Hanna Clapping
  • Southern Promises
  • The Third from the Left
  • Twelfth Night
  • Voices from Guantánamo
  • The Wendigo
  • Zombie


    Extreme Girl

    Girl, incorrupted

    Barbara Blackburn's hilarious "Extreme Girl" starts by showing us an American teenager who's, like, really cool and everything, and lampoons her possible destinies, from swimsuit model to biker chick. Wait, isn't there something else she can be?


    (Originally reviewed in December 1999 at Currican Theater.)

    As the lights come up, a statuesque French blonde reclines luxuriously on a loveseat and tells us why French women are better than American women. "When a French girl grow up, she feel she is France. . . . She wake up in ze morning and tell herself, 'I am ze Pyrenees! I am Champagne! I am ze vineyard of ze Loire!' When an American girl wake up, what does she tell herself? 'I am Disneyland'?"

    Written and performed by: Barbara Blackburn.
    Directed by: Courtney Munch.

    Related links: Official site
    Fade to black. When the lights come up again, we see a teenager in her bedroom. Like many of us at that age, she is full of desires and ambitions and fascination with life — she wants to do it all. Kiss boys. Kiss boys deliciously. Be an archaeologist. Be Super-Archaeologist. This is the most affecting of the nine characters in Barbara Blackburn's wonderful one-woman comedy "Extreme Girl" — you know she's going to hit the wall of reality a few times as she grows up, but you can already see the beautiful woman she could become. Yes, she wants to be popular and fit in and giggle with her girlfriends, but she also feels how social pressure could erode her authentic self. She even invents a personal ritual to remind her to be true to herself. What will this girl make of her possibilities?

    Extreme Girl  
    As if to answer that question, Blackburn tromps hilariously through a procession of female types that our society has to offer such a girl: bimbo, fashion model, swimsuit model, calendar model, stripper, high-class stripper, Charlie's Angel, Bond girl, bad girl. Each is a form of the "extreme girl" of the play's title — a woman who has become all image and no substance.

    At this point, you might not blame our teenage friend if she gave up and moved to Paris. But near the end — so quickly you could almost miss it — Blackburn proclaims a sort of American woman's manifesto, listing a range of national heroines from soccer stars to the attorney general. The same country that wants you to look hot in a bikini also has room for you to achieve greatness, she seems to be saying.

    Blackburn, it must be noted, has the looks and the moves to make an excellent model or Bond girl, so she pulls off all of these characters without seeming either bitter or miscast. But there's also a sharp mind behind her script and a real skill in the performance. Brains, beauty and talent — just the combination the girls of America are going to need to make their own way in this complicated world.

    DECEMBER 12, 1999

    Reader comments on Extreme Girl:

  • Awesome Show....have a question....   from Val Vogland, Apr 3, 2001

  • Post a comment on "Extreme Girl"