The Pick Me Theory 

As a kid Maia Rosenfeld was always too much: too loud, too flashy, too developed (her first bra, at age 11, was a 36B). No surprise, then, that she spent her adolescent years as an uncool freak. Since then she's tried to mold herself into something average and "acceptable"--but most recently, as actress Maia Madison, her brash personality has garnered some high-paying acting gigs: when she auditioned for a one-line walk-on in the 2001 sitcom What About Joan, the writers liked her so much they expanded the part into a five-episode recurring character. Now she's transformed her obsession with self-normalization into her first one-person show, The Pick Me Theory. This 50-minute monologue is part informed sociological investigation into the need to join the herd and part over-the-top autobiography, as she recalls trying to fit into a grotesquely ostentatious circle of Manhattan Jews. Her ballsy, self-deprecating script--which leaves no humiliating stone unturned--transforms what might have been an excruciatingly personal journey into a gleeful romp through the all-too-human: Madison's stories are vivid and painfully familiar to those of us who grew up geeks. The 1996 Northwestern grad moved to Los Angeles several years ago but decided to workshop the monologue here because, she says, "Chicago audiences don't let you get away with shit." The piece may need a tighter focus, especially during the first half, but its quirky, idiosyncratic conclusion, as Madison finds a way to embrace her own too-muchness, is heartbreaking. 11/1-3: Mon and Wed 8 PM. Bailiwick Repertory, Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-883-1090. $10.

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