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Film Review from Tribeca Film Festival 2011: Shakespeare High
by Karen Pecota

Shakespeare High is a documentary directed by Alex Rotaru, produced by Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti to commemorate the 90th annual DTASC (Drama Teachers Association of Southern California) Shakespeare competition and its significance. The film follows various high schools in the competition; but, the focus is on three groups and how they prepare for the competition. The hard work takes them out of their comfort zone and challenges their abilities or talents. The program is designed to reach out to the community in a tangle way to those less fortunate. It encourages high school drama and arts programs, in the Southern California school districts, to enlist their students who need help to overcome difficulties in their personal life. It is offers them as an option that could change their destiny. It is a positive outlet for those who are bound for the road of hard knocks.

The inspirational stories from Tosh, Taco, Nicole, Tommy, Galvin and Melvin; and the celebrities who participated in the same program while in their Southern California High School days like Val Kilmer, Richard Dreyfuss, Kevin Spacey, and Mare Winningham, all agree that their lives have been changed through their arts education program at their local school.

Many high school students do not have the opportunity to break out of their socially controlling communities that encourage life-styles of suppression, i.e. gangbangers, educational drop-outs, below poverty levels, skin-head families, drugs or violence. Shakespeare High allows the audience to observe the exercise of training in Shakespeare proficiency for the inexperienced and be moved by the bravery of high school students who want to make a difference in the world.