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Shakespeare in rap: Scaffolding Theatre Co. brings “Othello: The Remix” to Las Cruces

Leora Zeitlin

“What’s Othello really about?” asks Julian Alexander about “Othello: The Remix,” the rap version of Shakespeare’s play that he and three other actors will perform this month with the Scaffolding Theatre Co. In this interview with KRWG’s Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin, director Megan McQueen suggests that it’s “about how we treat people as “Others.” As she wrote in her director’s notes, “Othello challenges us to consider who we value and who we oppress, who we envy and who we sabotage, and why.”

In this acclaimed “add-RAP-tation” by the Q Brothers, the play blends serious tragedy, comic elements, and dazzling rap in a high-energy, fast-paced non-stop 80-minute production. The actors were told to bring their own “struggles, or any time we felt as the ‘other’” to the script, said actor Josh Horton. The four actors play all the roles of the play, deepening the gender and race themes of Shakespeare’s original.

Credit Leora Zeitlin
Julian Alexander, Josh Horton, and Megan McQueen of the Scaffolding Theatre Company.

In this interview, the three discuss the play, this production, their experiences with Shakespeare, and much more, and offer the listener a sample of Shakespeare in rap.  “Superficially, this show is hilarious at some points,” Alexander said, but this underlying tragedy – it’s wild.” Horton added, “It also flips on a dime, too. It’s funny, funny, but then the tragedy even comes harder.” Performances take place for the next three weekends of June, beginning June 8: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m., at the Lavish Ultra Lounge in the Ramada Palms Hotel, with the bar and restaurant opening an hour earlier.

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