Hilarious actress and writer Anna LaMadrid has been seen on screen in Vida Love (Starz), Love, Victor (Hulu), and Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), but she is now is tackling the ups and downs of quarantine, in her latest production, The Oxy Complex. The solo play, written by LaMadrid and presented by IAMA Theatre Company, is running virtually through April 18th. We had a chance to catch up with the creator, to get the inside scoop on this intriguing production.
Tell us a little bit about The Oxy Complex and what viewers can expect.
The Oxy Complex is a dark comedy. It opens up on the 500th day of quarantine with Viviana, who has been quarantining in isolation the entire time. She hasn’t been sleeping well and without the daily distractions and coping mechanisms of daily life, she is forced to reflect on her past in order to heal her future. It also explores how nature and nurture are making it harder and harder to be in romantic relationships and explains the science behind that. Think of it like if Fleabag and the High Fidelity Reboot, with Zoe Kravitz, had a theatre Latina baby and you got The Oxy Complex.
The Oxy Complex is largely influenced by the pandemic. How has the current climate of
the world changed your writing overall? Do you find yourself exploring different topics?
Or using a different process?
Truth be told…this is the first time I have written a show of this scope.
I initially wrote the seed for this piece while I was in my 2nd year of grad school at the University of Washington. It started as a 15-minute exploration about how technology was disrupting our biology when it came to online dating. It also explored our addiction to hormones, like oxytocin, that are released without our consent. What was interesting to me when IAMA asked me to expand this piece for 2020–was what was happening to us when the supply of oxytocin gets cut off while we quarantine. So essentially we have a character going through withdrawal at the top of the show. On top of that, quarantine took away all of the distractions we have developed to cope with our unresolved traumas. It’s a collective time reckoning and accepting ourselves. This was an interesting space for me to explore.
You have performed in several staged productions and TV shows, what is the
performance that you think most shaped you as a performer?
Each project I have ever done has its own lesson and continues to shape me as a performer. I would say that for me theatre is the place that has given me the most creative expression and agency as an artist. The play that introduced me to the LA community was Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops by Jen Silverman. That experience was really special because it was as right after 45 had won the presidency. I felt sad, angry, and raw after that election. So it was wonderful to jump into a process with all women and talk about rage and find community and support during that time.
What advice do you have for women looking to create their own written work?
Find a community that supports you and that you trust. Writing is such a vulnerable experience. More so than acting because as a performer I can hide behind the words. So find someone you love to hold you accountable. Who you trust to read your pages. Who gives you room to talk out your ideas and push you to the places that feel scary and that maybe you don’t want to write about. That’s where the gold is. That’s what makes you authentically you. That’s what is calling to be shared.
Now that you’re dying to watch The Oxy Complex, check out the trailer below or purchase your tickets at https://iamatheatre.secure.force.com/ticket/#/events/a0O2I00000V2pbzUAB