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My Shakespeare (2004)

TV Movie  |   |  Documentary  |  27 December 2004 (UK)
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Paterson was born and raised in the rough area of Harlesden, London and, since becoming an actor, has decided to return to his streets with the message of Shakespeare. Setting himself a ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Jonathan Taylor ...


Paterson was born and raised in the rough area of Harlesden, London and, since becoming an actor, has decided to return to his streets with the message of Shakespeare. Setting himself a target of four weeks to cast, rehearse and direct a West End production of Romeo & Juliet, Paterson plans to show the world that Harlesden is not what people assume and prove that Shakespeare can be brought to any place, any people and any time by using a cast of all first time actors. In the background director Baz Luhrmann looks on and offers Paterson advice on how to bring Shakespeare alive for modern actors and audiences. Written by bob the moo

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27 December 2004 (UK)  »

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Uplifting Insight into the Creation of an Unlikely Stage Show
1 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I just happened upon this on our local PBS channel and was transfixed.

Baz Luhrmann acts as the omniscient adviser to directors everywhere hoping to create a meaningful stage experience, using an inner-city rendition of Romeo & Juliet as the case study. Juxtaposed with Luhrmann's insightful explanation of a director's craft is the making of the project itself -- a West End production of Romeo & Juliet, performed by actors with zero experience who've been chosen off the streets of an inner-city London neighborhood.

Clearly, director Paterson Joseph is biting off more than most folks would presume he could chew, but the documentary does a magnificent job of detailing his process, challenges and creative (and sometimes difficult) solutions to the evolving problems. Many of the cast are spotlighted individually, and their growth from curious pedestrians who answer Paterson's question, "Have you ever read any Shakespeare?" to confident would-be thespians is fascinating. Despite having never directed a performance before (!), Paterson rides the tumultuous wave of highs and lows through to an end that likely exceeded his own expectations as surely as it exceeds that of his cast.

Paterson's grace and wisdom should inspire anyone seeking to create in any art form. Truly recommended for artists of any persuasion, or anyone who doesn't believe in "impossible."

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