The Hobart Shakespeareans Reviews
The documentary follows Rafe Esquith as he takes a group of kids that are economically challenged, or are immigrants that would be destined for failure in many schools, and he turns them into - well, you have to see it. This isn't a slick, glossy documentary, but a behavioral essay on film.
Esquith sets the bar high by teaching the kids and getting them to produce the plays of Shakespeare as both a teaching, teamwork, and learning experience. He's simply an energetic guy that loves his subject, and obviously loves teaching. His message isn't revolutionary: You can make a difference, and that being nice, working hard and doing your best works. He really spends a lot of time with these kids, and lets them see another world beyond the neighborhoods they come from.
He's also teaching the right way, getting the kids to not just read things, but experience them. The clips of the performances don't do it justice, or show the amount of work that they put into these shows. The rich kids I know that go to theater camps are positively lazy by comparison. His success attracted the attention of some major stage and screen actors that give cameos in the film.
It's an inspirational story, well worth watching, wether you're a teacher, a parent, or a student.
As far as the film's treatment of the subject itself, there are some areas where I would have liked to have seen more detail--reflections and opinions from other Hobart staff, from former students, and the like, for example--but overall an inspiring, albeit slightly underdeveloped, documentary.