Bridges and the Bard

By Ms Published on .

Just in time for camp and summer school, the National Endowment for the Arts has partnered with Shakespeare Festival/L.A. to bring Shakespeare productions and educational activities to under-served schools and communities around Los Angeles. The initiative, called "Shakespeare in American Communities," kicked off on May 17 and included a short documentary by director, editor and Red Car president Larry Bridges custom-made for the festival, which featured actors and students discussing the influence that the Bard had on their lives.

"I wanted to do a moving documentary which would show the actual results, not talk promises," said Bridges, who included interviews and soliloquies from Tom Hanks, Martin Sheen, Christina Applegate, Michael Richards, William Shatner, Bill Pullman, Michael York, and Julie Taymor. "I interviewed inner city kids who did not speak English at home who were performing Hamlet and bringing Senators in Washington to tears. There were stories of girls on the verge of joining gangs who suddenly aligned their aspiration compasses by participating in live theater, high school students who discovered themselves by doing Shakespeare while they watched their friends drop out and take menial jobs. My satisfaction is that the film turned what could have been stuffy into something fun, enlightening, and entertaining." (or)

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