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
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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. Tickets can be purchased here.