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Movie Review: Shakespeare Behind Bars

Alternate Title: The Bard Does Time

Story: "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" I come to praise this fine documentary. Writer and director Hank Rogerson delivers a powerful film about one of the educational programs in the Luther Luckett Penitentiary in La Grange, Kentucky. The prison seems an odd place for Shakespeare but as noted in the film, in Shakespeare's day many of the actors in his plays were also on the fringes of society.

The program in its fifth year allows the inmates to discover things about themselves that just might help in their rehabilitation if and when they get paroled.

We are introduced to the inmates through the parts they play in the production of The Tempest. It is only after we care about them that we are privy to the crimes they committed. This is the brilliant part of the film. As an audience member do we, like the characters in The Tempest 'indulge in forgiveness'?

Can art transform? Can art save lives? This is a compelling study of just such themes. It gave me lots to think about as I was walking home."Having nothing, nothing can he lose".- (King Henry the Sixth, Part III - Act III, Scene III).

Acting: "I cannot tell what the dickens his name is". - (The Merry Wives of Windsor- Act III, Scene II). All of the actors are introduced by first names only.

Predilection: I like themes about redemption, I like Shakespeare and "The play 's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king". - (Hamlet - Act II, Scene II).

Critters: Alas no critters in this prison however the Bard did write "A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!". - (King Richard III- Act V, Scene IV). He also wrote "Out, damned spot! out, I say!" - (Macbeth - Act V, Scene I).

Food: No scenes in the mess hall. "Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; ( Julius Caesar - Act I, Scene II).

Soundtrack: "‘T’is neither here nor there." - (Othello - Act IV, Scene III).

Visual Art: All of the visual art was all "In my mind's eye". - (Hamlet - Act I, Scene II).

Theater Audience: "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - (As You Like It - Act II, Scene IV).

Drift Factor: "I have not slept one wink.". - (Cymbeline - Act III, Scene III).

Tissue Usage: "When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff". - ( Julius Caesar - Act III, Scene II).

Oscar Worthy:"Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind". - (Hamlet - Act III, Scene I).

Soap Box: There's much to say about our prison system. "Now is the winter of our discontent". - (King Richard III - Act I, Scene I).

Nit Picking: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks". - ( Hamlet - Act III, Scene II).

Big Screen or Rental: Get thee to the big screen if you can. There have been a lot of Shakespeare films. Check out this website and be dazzled -

http://absoluteshakespeare.com/trivia/films/films.htm

Length: Not "For ever and a day". - (As You Like It - Act IV, Scene I). Only 90 minutes and remember "Brevity is the soul of wit". - (Hamlet - Act II, Scene II).

LOBO HOWLS: 8 "Do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe?" - (Hamlet - Act III, Scene II)