Thursday October 19th 2017

“Othello:The Remix”

CST_OTHE_2Highly Recommended***** How do we get our next generations to appreciate the works of William Shakespeare? In fact, how do we get some of our fellow theater-goers to even go to a Shakespeare  comedy, let alone a tragedy. Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier has done a great deal to make this a reality. They have modernized their productions to give the audience a closer feel to the story! hey have started a “Short Shakespeare” program, for youngsters primarily, but they can be just as effective for adults ( young and old), and now they have found something that may be THE answer- RAP Shakespeare!  Yes, you read write, Rappers telling the story in their own fashion and very understandable for those who are afraid to accept the Shakespeare language- put it into language they do understand. A few years ago, we had the experience of watching the Q Brothers do a masterful show in the Upstairs CST, called “The Bomb-itty of Errors” ( a hip hop, rap version of “The Comedy of Errors”. Now, these extremely talented men bring Shakespeare’s deep tragedy, “Othello” to the same stage as “Othello: The Remix”, a sensational 90 minutes of pure comedy and a theatrical experience that you will never forget! We also were fortunate to experience another show by these geniuses, “Funk it up About Nuthin” ( “Much Ado About Nothing”, and luck for us, there are many more to choose from!

These four rappers, GQ who also directed this production and plays Iago) and his brother JQ ( co-creator, co-director and who plays numerous roles, male and female) are amazing as performers and have wild minds to bring a tragedy such as this to the stage as a pure comic delight. Postell Pringle ( Othello) and Jackson Doran (who plays Casio and Emilia) are all talented. They have great comic timing and what makes a show like this more difficult to do is that the timing has to be razor sharp. Since it is all done in a rhyming mode set to the records being handled by the DJ, Clayton Stamper, one little slip and it could fall apart. Watching these five men work together, never missing a beat and knowing how to play off and with each other is magic to the eyes of an audience member.

I am sure most everyone knows the story. Othello secretly marries Desdemona . She is an aristocrat, he far lesser in stature. In this version, he is a Rapper ( why not) who is rising to the top. Oh, yes, and he is a Moor ( translated, he is Black).Roderigo, another noble who is smitten with Desdemona , hates the Moor as well, so his friend Iago assures him he will help him with his quest. Cassio has been promoted to a higher stature by Desdemona’s father and so Iago will do what it takes to get rid of him as well There is trickery between these characters to make others think that they are being betrayed, all under the careful eye of the evil Iago. In this version, they are not soldiers, but all in the music business and although we never see Desdemona, we hear her voice and watch each of our players play to her, almost making us see her. What we have is a wild ride with these famous characters becoming more real than ever and we. the audience laugh from start to finish! There is one scene, when all the men don wigs and dress aprons to become a female singing group ( like those of the 60’s) and do a song about men that will have you falling off your seat. This is a MUST SEE! For everyone! Young or Old ( you will be young at heart from this version of one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies.CST_OTHE_3

I don’t care what you think about Shakespeare ( I for one love his works and in particular the sterling productions that CST brings us) and his works, this is a wonderful 90 minutes of entertainment. There is a small intermission, which probably doesn’t have to be there, but I guess it allows them to sell some beverages ( you can take drinks into the theater) and this is a perfect show for that glass of wine or bottle of beer. The biggest problem with this show is that it is only here through April 28th, so I would not hesitate on purchasing your tickets as the upstairs/studio theater is smaller, so seating is limited ( no bad seats- I sat in the last row and enjoyed every second of the 90 minutes)es

The performance schedule  is as follows:  Wednesday,Thursday and Friday evenings at 7:30 p.m.

Saturdays at  3 and 8 p.m.

Sunday at 3 p.m.

Tickets are only $25-$35 and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 312-595-5600 or online at www.chicagoshakes.com

Parking special 40% off ( I paid $10 after getting my ticket validated, so bring it with you to the theater)

To see what others say, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Othello:The Remix” and may I say Thank you to Barbara Gaines for making shows like this possible for Chicago audiences.CST_OTHE_4

 

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