THEATRE REVIEW: Oreo at Sheffield Studio

THEATRE REVIEW: Oreo at Sheffield Studio

By Phil Turner | 20/01/2022

THEATRE REVIEW: Oreo at Sheffield Studio

WITHOUT saying a single word, Tania Camara powerfully explores racism and what it means to be black or white.

The title, taken from the chocolate biscuit, is a term, like “Bounty Bar” or “Coconut” used against a black person who is deemed to be “acting white”.

To create this effect, Camara uses many Oreos and paints herself with the white Oreo filling, as she challenges the notion of whitening and identity in a stunningly honest and original way.

As she seems to be getting ready for work, we hear a sound clip of a speech from Diane Abbott, the black Labour MP, who has suffered vile online racist abuse for years.

Camara cleverly interjects the speech with examples of such shocking social media racism. 

A semi-autobiographical solo artist performance, Camara’s voice is unheard as we experience her sense of being silenced and degraded. 

The more she whitens her face, the more bitter her manic laughter becomes as she looks in the mirror to see who she really is and less afraid of being herself.

No matter how she tries, she'll never be white and has to reclaim her identity.

Camara sheds her clothes down to her underwear, covering her entire body in the white liquid as she lies in unbearable, shaking silence on the floor in what seems like hours.

But then there is singing, and she adds her own voice as evocative film footage film plays in the background.

As she changes, she switches to African dress and we feel her joy in the dancing finale, as much of the audience heed her urging and join in from their seats. Her liberation from prejudice and hate seems complete.

Less than an hour long, Camara is captivating as Oreo makes for uncomfortable watching but delivers a compelling message against hatred.

 



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