Calling all rap and hip-hop music fans. This Shakespeare production is for you! I'm sure you're thinking, [insert record scratch] whaaat? It's true! Thanks to the talents of The Q Brothers and Chicago Shakespeare Creative Producer Rick Boynton, Othello: The Remix (playing now through May 6) entertains from beginning to end, providing a fresh, urban take on the classic Bard tragedy.
In this version, Othello is a rap star. He falls in love with and marries Desdemona, a singer with a beautiful voice. His manager Loco Vito, a man with a comedic obsession with tennis, announces Othello is going on tour with his crew Cassio and Iago. Cassio is the rising star with a hit single and dance craze the Cassio slide (almost as cool as Silentó's Whip/Nae Nae). Iago is the underground sensation who feels like he deserves more spotlight and cred. His jealousy turns tragic as he makes Othello turn on Cassio and ultimately his love, Desdemona. If you're dying to know what happens, pardon the pun, Let Me Google That For You.
What really stands out about Othello: The Remix is that these humble storytellers make this tragedy quite comedic. They spit rhymes, gender bend and dance to delight your eyes and ears. The four men in the cast, plus the DJ, transport you to their take on Othello, and by the end, you won't want to see it any other way.
The energy in this show is off the charts. Before it even starts, popular rap and hip-hop songs play while you read the program in your seat. The beats start right at lights up and don't quit as there's minimal spoken dialogue. You'll laugh, cheer and audible gasp over 80 minutes. The energy builds so much that you'll be thankful it has no intermission because you don't want it to stop!
And lastly, if you're intimidated by Shakespeare language, no worries. They change up the script to more modern dialogue. It's fast paced but easy to swallow. A definite must-see, despite the lack of air horns.
Othello: The Remix is playing at Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier through May 8, 2016. Buy tickets now!
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