Writer: Anna LaMadrid
Director: Michelle Bossy
Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
If anyone had said when things first locked down in March of 2020 that we would still be in a form of quarantine one year later, people would have revolted. There would have been anger, panic, and refusal to comply. And though some of those reactions happened on a small scale, by and large a lot of us went with it. And here we are, one year later.
Anna LaMadrid’s The Oxy Complex is a dark comedy set in the not-too-distant future, Day 500 of the pandemic. Living alone and grappling with touch hunger Viviana reminisces on her childhood and past romantic entanglements as she struggles with insomnia and loneliness in her present. Interspersed with a lecture by the cleverly-named Dr. Oye Me about the different hormones associated with love, sex, and fear; Viviana’s journey through a sleepless night proves relatable, poignant, and darkly funny.
A filmed production, The Oxy Complex utilizes the recorded medium to elevate the one-woman show format to a seamless level. Thanks to editing as well as set and costume changes, LaMadrid is able to seamlessly portray every character in the show – Viviana, her mother, her best friend, and Dr. Oye. This gives a boost to a script that would be difficult (not impossible, but certainly not easy) to produce on a live stage. LaMadrid’s portrayal of each character is singular and specific, and her vulnerability in Viviana’s OTF-style inner-monologue moments is quite lovely. Michelle Bossy’s direction gives strong shape and texture to each scene.
It has been a year now of seeing and reviewing theatre online. And though this reviewer can’t wait to get back into the space when this pandemic has resolved, it is immensely special for a New Yorker to get to write about a show from a Los Angeles-based company. Had this show not been online, those of us outside of LA would not have gotten to experience the charm and relatability of the work. An online play may not replace a hug, but for theatre lovers, we may just get a little oxytocin boost from the experience.