Shakespeare: The Remix
a hip-hop play for young audiences by Aaron Jafferis & Gihieh Lee
commissioned by TheatreWorks (Palo Alto)
When Shayla, a hip-hop-loving high school student, accidentally unleashes Shakespeare, a 450-year-old ghost having a mid-death crisis, a pitched battle of wits erupts that pits Shayla’s ravenous young mind against Shakespeare’s hunger to prove himself relevant. As Shayla and Shakespeare jump in and out of scenes from Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Merchant of Venice, it is the third character – the “ghost” audience of school kids watching and often participating in the show – that becomes most wrapped (rapped? rapt?) up in the power of words.
The Remix is an unparalleled way to introduce Shakespeare (as you’ve never known him) to young audiences. Colliding original text from Shakespeare’s plays with original rhymes fresh from the mouth of a high school student, The Remix is an introduction to all that is relevant and irreverent in Shakespeare and in hip hop.
Answer burning questions such as:
Is Lady Macbeth a good role model?
How did Shakespeare & hip-hop invent language?
Can you dance to iambic pentameter?
What’s the secret to great writing?
Did Shakespeare promote violence, or prevent it?
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?
Performances of The Remix connect directly to the classroom. For detailed information on curriculum links and related activities that your teachers or our workshop leaders can bring to your students, check out TheatreWorks’ 27-page Shakespeare: The Remix Study Guide (PDF).
The authors and actors of The Remix can lead hands-on workshops in which the writing and acting techniques introduced in the play are broken down for students as they begin to write and perform their own sonnets, raps, monologues, and scenes. Workshops can culminate in public student performances of the work they’ve created.