Shakespeare High (2011 documentary)

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Shakespeare High (2011)
directed by Alex Rotaru
run time 81 minutes
IMDb ident:  tt1884414

About The Film from

"Shakespeare High is a feature-length documentary that tells the story of a group of teenagers in Southern California who find a place to belong within their high-school drama program and are determined to succeed in the 90th Annual DTASC (Drama Teachers Association of Southern California) Shakespeare Competition. Theater has become their inspiration; a reason to strive and overcome adversity. The film features their stories of how the arts enriches their lives amidst personal troubles, including poverty, violence, gangs, drugs, absentee parents, as well as the troubles and hardships of adolescence.

    Through Shakespeare, these students are able to find community; they discover passion, drive, and confidence to pursue their dreams and dictate the course of their lives.

Tosh and Taco are sophomores from East LA and former gang members. NicoleΓÇÖs family lives below the poverty line in the isolated, low-income desert community of Hesperia. Tommy is an energetic and spry redhead whose parents were former skin-heads before his dad left the family. Galvin and Melvin are twin brothers who moved in with their aunt and uncle after their father murdered their mother following a spiteful divorce. Their touching stories of change and determination are interspersed with commentary from well-known actors including Kevin Spacey, Val Kilmer, and Richard Dreyfus, all of whom are alumni of the life-changing DTASC program."

  My notes:

  This film was listed in a recent (September 2012) Film Comment magazine published at Lincoln Center.

   No Costumes
   No props
   No makeup
   Four chairs

  These are all the elements allowed to bring Shakespeare to life in competition for California high school student contestants in Shakespearean dramatic competition  The contest has been going on for 90 years and has started the careers of some well-known Hollywood names, four of which appear in Shakespeare High.

  The film is much more than one might expect because it is not the usual selection of
class cut ups and a-listers at the top of the high school pecking order who have the most "sparkle."  Because of the constraints on what can be used, aside from raw talent, the playing field for these contestants is quite level.

   This film brings to mind for me another about student performance competitions I have seen called "Mad Hot Ballroom."  Here again what might seem like a dull topic of ballroom dancing completely engages the adult viewer and hopefully teachers as well in what brings these kids together: competition.  It's not the competition of the sports field but it is competition nonetheless.

   The film is presented here that more people might get the dvds for their libraries and schools.

Notes written December 8th, 2012
Shakespeare High (2011) Documentary.avi 664.033 MB
shakespeare high notes.txt 2.966 KB
Thumbs.db 5.12 KB
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