Othello: The Remix

March 13

August 4, 2013

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare

a hip-hop adaptation of
William Shakespeare’s Othello
written, directed and music by GQ and JQ
developed with Rick Boynton

Critical Acclaim

“Highly recommended! To cut to the chase: the 80-minute, lightening-fast, hip-hop version of Shakespeare's tragic tale of jealousy and self-doubt, is absolutely brilliant, and immense fun. Not only does this show's fire-powered hip-hop lingo fall trippingly from the actors' tongues, but just as Shakespeare helped shape English, rap has dramatically refashioned it.”

Othello: The Remix turns out to by far the best the work the Bros. Q have done (and I've seen 'em all). I think one of the clues here was the little patch of gray visible on the head on that buzz-cut hipster JQ: the Qs are growing older, which means wiser, slightly sadder, considerably darker, massively more saturated with craft and thus a whole lot more interesting.”

“The newest, liveliest music can absolutely activate theatrical storytelling if the actors own the words they express and style they emanate.  Those factors are impressively evident in the Q Brothers’ thrilling “Othello: The Remix.”  The Q Brothers’ words and rhythms are pulsing, intelligent, honest, infectious and intensely absorbing.  You get so lost in this world and its extreme-though-believable characters.  The joyous cheers with which the audience responds to the feisty and abundantly clever wordplay is probably rather akin to an Elizabethan audience’s response to Shakespeare’s own verbiage.  A work that simultaneously makes the Bard more accessible to a broader audience, while still challenging its viewers’ wit, imagination and intellect—shattering their preconceived notions of Will, be he Smith, I.Am or Shakespeare.”

“This heart-pounding musical mayhem journey of discovery is perfect for any audience.  You need not be a fan or expert in the world of hip hop music to appreciate the polish and stamina this cast of four, plus crow’s nest DJ, bring to audiences of all ages and experiences.  Everyone leaves entertained and eager for more.”

“I don’t care what you think about Shakespeare… this is a MUST SEE for everyone!  These four rappers are amazing as performers and have wild minds to bring a tragedy such as this to the stage… a theatrical experience that you will never forget.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED      "

“Brilliant… Othello: The Remix is to be seen—more than once. It’s that great!  This show has everything. Topical humor is worked into the ongoing lyrical verse.  Songs bring playful and profound moments.  It’s like your snarkiest thoughts set to an upbeat tune that wiggles and glides.” 

“Boldly applying a hip transformation to Shakespeare’s domestic tragedy, this much-acclaimed venture premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and has played Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival and in Germany.  (Well, rap like Shakespeare is universal.)  In this delirious delight, developed with Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s creative producer Rick Boynton, five players take only 90 minutes to deliver a freely funky, hip-hopped remake, complete with boom-box beat and breakout poetry.  Nothing’s lost in this deft translation.  Othello stays serious where it should, notably as the inevitable catastrophe closes in: Even where it didn’t before, it strikes true, as in a hilarious, driving rouser by the “women” about why men shouldn’t rule the world.  However long the run, this “remix” can never run long enough.” 

“Highlight of the London 2012 Globe to Globe Festival”

“      The show is a triumph from beginning to end! The Q Brothers from Chicago perform the tale expertly and did not shirk the darker elements of the play. The show fizzed along with so much verve that the story with its familiar themes of jealousy, friendship and betrayal was utterly engrossing.”

“Well-paced, sophisticated and very funny. We swap iambic pentameter for a 4/4 hip-hop tempo, but Othello is still "the Moor" and his rise to prominence as a music mogul draws a parallel with his rise as a soldier. ”

“The quartet shows a charisma that almost makes one breathless—the entire performance is a real gem.”

“If the Q Brothers are ever in your hood go check them out! I laughed, I hollered, I got teary and yes, I threw my hands in the air. ”

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