Written and Performed by Julia Sun; Directed by Christine Renee Miller
Part of Horse Trade's FRIGID New York
Off Off Broadway, Solo Show
Ran through 3.3.16
The Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street
by Adrienne Urbanski on 3.4.16
Julia Sun in Acute...Girl.
BOTTOM LINE: This story of Julia Sun's life-long desire to be pretty is relatable and charming, but fails to analyze the issue in any larger social context.
Ever since she was a child Julia Sun dreamed of being beautiful. She coveted the clothing and makeup worn by her friends and begged for a pink Hello Kitty watch, believing that if she could just be pretty she would finally be accepted by the popular girls in her junior high, and later, high school. As the child of thrifty immigrants, she is not allowed to indulge in the frivolity of buying clothing at the mall. Sun is reduced to begging for the cast-offs of a wealthy friend and sees it as no coincidence that wearing a borrowed outfit to the first day of sixth grade scores her a boyfriend (one who she surprisingly keeps dating all the way through high school).
As soon as she is old enough, Sun gets a part time job as a receptionist at a (no surprise) beauty salon, allowing her to indulge in outfits from Urban Outfitters and Forever 21. While working as a receptionist a hair stylist suggests that she try modeling and Sun signs up for lessons at Barbizon. The lessons consist of ten days of a balding and overweight man teaching young girls how to properly open doors. While modeling Sun has run-ins with pageant girls who show her the tiaras from their wins. Sun wants to be crowned as beautiful so she joins the pageant competitions, hilariously belting out Tom Lehrer's "The Elements" as the talent portion of the competition. I kept waiting for Sun to learn that real beauty comes from within, or that there are more important things to life than applying makeup and buying the perfect outfit. This realization never arrives. Rather, in a short ending we learn that Sun finally feels pretty after becoming a TV host with her own set of fans.
Sun's story is both relatable and endearing and she shows talent as a performer when she reenacts some of the most bizarre characters and embarrassing moments from her life. Her willingness to laugh at herself and be self-deprecating helps to make Acute...Girl entertaining and at times enthralling. Sun's energy and confidence also makes her enjoyable watch. However, the ending of her story seems a bit thin in comparison to the richness of its beginning.
(Acute...Girl played at the Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street, through March 3, 2016. The running time is one hour with no intermission. Tickets were $18, $15 for students and seniors. More information can be found online at frigidnewyork.info.)
Acute...Girl is written and performed by Julia Sun. Directed by Christine Renee Miller.