Artist Spotlight: The Q Brothers (Othello: The Remix)

othello2.jpg

For almost two decades, the Q Brothers have been pioneering hip-hop theater with their “ad-rap-tations” of classic plays.

"This festival is an elevated spiritual experience that’s based in a lot of love and relationship. That connects everyone from audience member to volunteer staffer to artist. Everyone there feels that web of compassion; to me that’s the special aspect of Bear Music Festival that I don’t think exists in a lot of environments."

What are you performing at BMF, and how will it be different from last year’s show?

"We’ll be doing Othello this time. Last year’s show was one of Shakespeare’s lightest comedies; Othello has more gravity to it, and it’s shot through with Shakespeare’s emotional sucker punches. It definitely delivers on the storytelling and there’ll be hype musical jams throughout, as well as tons of the jokes people expect from us, but this one’s a weightier play, for sure, and our adaptation comes from a deep, deep dive into the nitty gritty of Shakespeare's text. In addition, we brought more of the Q Brothers family along, so we’ll be five strong onstage instead of just the two of us."

On Shakespeare and hip-hop:

“If Shakespeare were alive today, he’d be a rapper. I don’t see what else he’d be doing. He’s a brilliant storyteller who tells stories through poetry, and that’s what the best rappers do. I think they're both telling stories rhythmically, too—iambic pentameter was the hot rhythm of the day.”

On ‘The Hamilton Effect’:

“Bringing verse back to the mainstream has been nothing but good for theater. It has shifted public perception to allow people to realize just how accessible hip-hop is to them, and there’s a lot less fear going into a show that has elements of hip-hop in it.”

What was special about your BMF experience and the connections you made?

“Everyone was so approachable, and there was an intimacy other festivals don’t have; we were able to just hang with all these great artists after their sets. Everyone was super open because we were all in this crazy area together; there’s a trust that’s created with hundreds of people in coming together and leaving everything behind and creating a community. ‘Who’s got something to share?’ was the vibe. I actually had a lot of rewarding interactions while I was brushing my teeth, including a conversation with a man who said he’d been coming to the camp for 35 years, and that he’d made the best friends of his life there. That’s awesome.”