Nina Arsenault goes from Dungeons and Dragons to playing Barbie

Though it’s unlikely you’ll ever find yourself in a game of Dungeons and Dragons with Nina Arsenault, if you do, make sure you don’t break character.

“I’ve always taken performance very seriously,” laughs Arsenault. “Even during my brief flirtation with DnD in high school, I always insisted people stay in character for the whole game.”

Arsenault always played high-priestess characters.

“The evil priestess was my favourite,” she says. “She was shockingly beautiful, dressed always in black robes and had very powerful spells. But she also had a healing quality and was worthy of redemption in the end.”

Our discussion of the ultimate nerd pastime has come up in talking about Arsenault’s SummerWorks show I W@s B*rbie, which is based on the transsexual writer/performer’s real-life experience of being asked to play Barbie at the Mattel Corporation’s 50th birthday party for the much loved (and hated) doll.

When she talks in the script about arriving at Fashion Week, Arsenault delivers the poignant line, “I am on a pilgrimage into the pink plastic temple of patriarchy, and like it or not, I am its highest priestess,” which has led us to a discussion of her previous roles as “Priestess,” as well as the subject of patriarchy.

Not surprisingly, Arsenault has even more to say about the latter subject.  

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