Here on the support team, we have a tendency to encounter plenty of videos while working with the site. However, this title was the first one I had the urge to watch at home from start to finish, even though it clocks in at almost 90 minutes.
The video is My Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet with Baz Luhrman. Funnily enough, the aforementioned Baz Luhrman (who directed the theatrical version of Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes) doesn’t make that many appearances in the documentary. Instead, at center stage, is Paterson Joseph.
Joseph is a classically trained British actor who is well known to BBC watchers from his many TV roles, including the post-apocalyptic drama, Survivors, as well as guest appearances on Doctor Who.
Joseph grew up in a poor London neighborhood called Harlesden. His goal in making the documentary is to give something back to the community where he grew up, by taking a group of teens with no theatrical training, and introducing them to the world of Shakespeare. He does this by having them put on a performance of Romeo and Juliet. He states that drama gave him hope as a teen to be greater than he thought he was, and that he wants to pass that gift on to a group of willing teens.
This is where Luhrman comes in, video-conferencing with Joseph at various points to provide him with advice, as Joseph has never directed anything, let alone a Shakespearean drama.
While it is a feature length documentary, it’s every bit as entertaining as you could ask a feature-length documentary to be. Highly recommended.
As an aside, my second favorite DE video is Reading Rainbow: The Bionic Bunny Show, but purely for selfish reasons. The majority of the episode is spent with LeVar Burton providing a behind the scenes look at the making of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This also comes highly recommended, for entirely different reasons!