Review The Oreo Complex, Rich Mix by Tanica Psalmist

The Oreo Complex is a solo production, written and performed by Isaac-Ouro-Gnao. The beginning starts off with rooted and enchanted African tribal music produced by Ffion-Cambell-Davies. The audience were seated in a circular formation absorbing the subtle, repetitive tribal moves. Isaac positioned in the centre of the space was perfect to capture his worried facial expressions when saying the word ‘Oreo’ to himself, his traditional African clothing as well as the comfortability of him being in his skin; which was conveyed through the fluidity in his movement.

Slowly, Isaac strips down to nothing but a langot, which triggers him to start scavenging in to the audience’s space in search of clothing to ensemble a classic suit to wear. When Isaac finds the elements of clothing he instantly puts them on, a sign of relief and contentment is expressed on his face once fully dressed in to his new outfit. He then breaks the fourth wall by introducing himself where we see he is no longer the born and bred African witnessed in the beginning but a Black British, presenting himself as a spokesman.

It is from that point the play becomes a promenade performance; Isaac becomes a tour guide and invites the audience members into another space in the venue to experience his exhibition. During the exhibition experience, the audience are involved as Isaac interestingly stays in character but interacts with different members to read out transcripts, google search statistics, analyse the photography on the walls of him; which came to life when you got a deeper meaning in to what the imagery displayed. We are then brought in to a different part in the space which contained chairs and beans bags for a cinema experience; playing an audio visual spoken word clip of Isaac, repetitively using metaphorical references to an oreo to express his feelings which got faster as the clip went on. The phrase that stood out in particular was when he says ‘Unleash me, Dip me in your milk, dunken my complexity, white wash my existence’.

As we went around the space, Isaac did a fantastic job dissecting the origin of where the name calling of Oreo stemmed from. The space became an open conversation to those guilty of identifying others as an Oreo or a victim of being called one.

The Oreo Complex is all about unravelling the Oreo label, depicting the negative connotations derived and afflicted, with the effects it can have on the conscious being identified as one; especially when you have come from another culture and have to adapt in a new country, whilst also not detaching from your roots.

The narrative within this play is convincing as Isaac uses his body and poetical skill to reflect the psychological effect society can have on the brain, by derogatory name calling. The Oreo Complex is truly a captivating, unique production; conveying emotion through dance, poetry and film to simulate your thinking.

Tanica Psalmist

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