Review: THE OREO COMPLEX at Nu Sass Productions

Limited run for 10 days at Caos on F

By: May. 23, 2023
Review: THE OREO COMPLEX at Nu Sass Productions

There are twelve rules, and Lillian must follow them. Because if she doesn’t follow the rules, she will be perceived as a threat, or be killed. Nu Sass Productions’ The Oreo Complex, written and performed by Lillian Brown, Lillian is a Black woman who is seen by others as an Oreo, a Black person who is considered to be Black on the outside and white on the inside. 

Nu Sass Productions’ The Oreo Complex is a lyrical narrative driven by Lillian’s performance about racism and its emotional toil. She must present herself as one way to white people, and isn’t considered to be Black enough. Lillian enters the stage as Oreo Girl in a doll-like state, donning a formal black and white gown with pearls to meet white people’s expectations of how she should present herself. Even after her trance dissolves, the audience still sees glimpses of that pressure during instances in which she randomly apologizes after a moment of rapid emotional release and gives out treats. 

Review: THE OREO COMPLEX at Nu Sass Productions
Lillian Brown as Oreo Girl in Nu Sass Productions' The Oreo Complex. Photo credit: Aubri O'Connor

During the show’s second part, Lillian sorrowfully dances in front of a banner bearing the images of Black people, such as Trayvon Martin and Breonna Taylor, who have been murdered for the color of their skin. The choreography by Lillian Brown and Tony White pays tribute to her ancestors with graceful turns, bows, and sharp slow steps. She performs for them rather than for the audience. Then Lillian becomes almost meditative, and begins singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as she plays singing bowls. In this moment, she talks and reconnects with her ancestors, and reflects on the future. Will she ever be able to relax in public? Will she ever just be able to be herself without fear of violence? As the show draws to a close, Lillian leaves these questions lingering in the air. 

Review: THE OREO COMPLEX at Nu Sass Productions
Lillian Brown as Oreo Girl in Nu Sass Productions' The Oreo Complex. Photo Credit: Aubri O'Connor

The small intimate space of Caos on F provides a perfect setting for this production. The set, collaboratively designed by Aubri O’Connor, Ileana Blustein, Kathryn Goetz, Michael Goetz, and Lillian Brown, is a white brick backdrop with a white canvas covering the floor. This design keeps the focus on Lillian’s performance, and provides a canvas for shadows to play off the walls.                                                                 

Lillian Brown shares so much in such a short span of time. Don’t miss this opportunity to see such a powerful show in its limited run at Caos on F. 

Running Time: 60 minutes

Main image caption & credit: Lillian Brown as Oreo Girl in The Oreo Complex. Photo by Aubri O'Connor

The Oreo Complex runs from May 20, 2023 until June 2, 2023 at Caos on F. Click Here.


World Premieres & More Set for The Washington Ballet 2023-24 Season Photo
World Premieres & More Set for The Washington Ballet 2023-24 Season

The Washington Ballet has announced their 2023-2024 season. The company will present four productions that showcase a diverse range of artistic excellence from classical to contemporary masterworks in addition to two auxiliary performances. Learn how to purchase tickets!

Theater J Reveals Lineup For 2023-24 Season Photo
Theater J Reveals Lineup For 2023-24 Season

Theater J has announced its 2023-2024 season, the first season planned by the theater’s new Artistic Director, Hayley Finn. Featuring world premiere productions, the debut of a solo play series, and an abundance of new works by emerging writers within the American theater landscape, this season builds on Theater J’s legacy as a home for exceptional new work within Washington, DC and throughout the country.

Review: INCENDIARY at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company Photo
Review: INCENDIARY at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Let me tell you a bit about myself. Even before the death of George Floyd and the political earthquake that followed, I have long been of the opinion that drastic and systemic changes are needed in the American judicial system. When I covered Gaithersburg city government for the Montgomery Sentinel, I took a knee during the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the city council meetings. I do the same when the 'Star Spangled Banner' plays at Washington Nationals games. On the wall above my desk where I'm writing this, I have tacked up the front page of the Washington Post from April 21, 2021, announcing Derek Chauvin's conviction for murder the previous day. I oppose the death penalty. I admire works that effectively explore generational trauma and make use of innovative storytelling techniques, including blending genres. For all these reasons, when I read the description of 'Incendiary,' written by Dave Harris and directed by Monty Cole, which recently opened at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, I expected to like it. I didn't.

Theatre Lab Receives a $44K Creative Forces Community Engagement Grant Photo
Theatre Lab Receives a $44K Creative Forces Community Engagement Grant

The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts is one of 34 organizations nationwide selected to receive a Creative Forces® Community Engagement grant. A grant of $44,000 will support healing and community building through The Theatre Lab’s Life Stories program for individuals connected to the military. Creative Forces Community Engagement Grants are part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Creative Forces® initiative and are in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance.

From This Author - Hannah R. Wing

Hannah Wing has an extensive background in editing and publishing. She has held positions ranging from literary magazine editor to web content manager. She has always had a soft spot for theatre and i... (read more about this author)


#repshow# in[i]# Something Rotten!
Bowie Playhouse (5/26-6/24)
#repshow# in[i]# Jurassic Park in Concert
Wolf Trap (7/22-7/22)
#repshow# in[i]# Dissonance
The Essential Theatre (5/30-6/11)
#repshow# in[i]# Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in Concert | National Symphony Orchestra
Wolf Trap (7/08-7/08)
#repshow# in[i]# Nate the Great
Imagination Stage (6/21-8/11)
#repshow# in[i]# KUMANANA! An Afro-Peruvian Musical Revue
GALA Hispanic Theatre (6/07-6/25)
#repshow# in[i]# Exclusion
Arena Stage (5/05-6/25)
#repshow# in[i]# Victorian Lyric Opera Company presents "The Sorcerer"
F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre (8/31-9/02)
#repshow# in[i]# Rockville Little Theatre presents "Communicating Doors"
F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre (9/22-10/01)
#repshow# in[i]# American Ballet Theatre | Giselle
Wolf Trap (7/27-7/28)

Recommended For You