SHAKESPEARE HIGH – Retroview by Jennifer Merin
In Southern California, a mixed demographic of high school drama student teams from several schools scattered across the areas diverse neighborhoods, prepare to compete in the Drama Teachers Association of Southern California Shakespeare Festival, held each April (specifically on April 22 in 2023). Over the years since its inception more than a hundred years ago, the annual Shakespeare competition has become just as popular as local and national teenage sports competitions and events, and members of the participating schools’ drama groups are recognized on campus as stars.
Documentary filmmaker Alex Rotaru follows several students who are members of four competing drama teams as the prepare for the big day of the 90th annual edition of the competition. Rotaru uses footage of auditions, rehearsals and performances, stitched together with on camera interviews with the drama teachers, students and several A-list Hollywood actors — Kevin Spacey, Mare Winningham and Val Kilmer, among others — who participated in the Shakespeare competition while they were teenagers attending high school in Southern California. At one point in the movie the stars return to their alma mater, Chattsworth High School, to give words of advice to the fledgling actors and attest to the importance of the school’s drama team and the challenging of the competition to their own growth as professional actors. Continue reading on CINEMA CITIZEN
EDITOR’S NOTE: Shakespeare High is steaming on Prime Video.