Art Crawl with Anna

Scene+In+Othello%3A+The+Remix

Anna Clevenger

Scene In Othello: The Remix

When most people think of Shakespeare, the first thing that comes to mind is a multitude of plays full of dense language, not eighty minutes of high intensity hip-hop. However, Othello: The Remix, created by the Q Brothers, could change that. The show, recently concluding its run at the Westside Theater in Midtown Manhattan, brought a modern twist to the age old tale of love, betrayal and revenge.

The opening line, “Oh snap!”, sung in perfect unison by all four members of the cast, sets the tone for the rest of the show. The original story of deceit that Shakespeare created, although reimagined through a contemporary lens, still shines through in the show. The Q Brothers, GQ and JQ, who directed and star in the show, seamlessly weave humor into a play about love and murder, turning the centuries old tragedy into a modern comedy.

Othello, originally written to be a general in the Venetian military, is reimagined as a hip hop mogul. His right hand man Iago, an underground rap purist, feels betrayed when Othello promotes Casio, a pop rapper (who Iago believes is better off leading a boy band), instead of him.

Enter Roderigo, a nerdy loser who is in love with Othello’s girl, and you have yourself the perfect recipe for a contemporary story of revenge.

There are no women in the production, as was the case in Shakespeare’s time. Instead, there are only four men and a DJ. There are, however, female characters, played by men wearing wigs and dresses, with the exception of Desdemona, Othello’s wife, who is featured only as vocals played back by the DJ.

“I think it’s very impressive how much the lyrics of the show parallel the original play, but still manage to be refreshing and new,” Ilana Duchan ’18. “The acting was amazing as well. The show was so entertaining.” For Bronx Science students who read Shakespeare plays year after year in English, shows like this one can provide new insight to what may seem like an outdated and irrelevant story. With its fresh musical style and great showmanship, Othello: The Remix engages Shakespeare in a way that few have ever seen before.

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