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In I Am Shakespeare, Henry talks about the shame of poverty, his desire for power and its intersection with violence, and his recovery after being shot and receiving an intestinal transplant. Each chapter of his story is defined by a separate identity until, at last, Henry is able to reconcile himself with everyone and everything he has.


While it is a powerful story that could very easily be viewed, enjoyed and discussed without identifying a specific outcome for audiences, the film is well-suited to serve as a springboard for targeted conversations about difficult topics such as gun violence, poverty, identity, race, and depression.

To allow for classroom viewing time and discussions, I Am Shakespeare is broken into four chapters, each one under 30 minutes.


Marylyn Wentworth's "Forming Ground Rules (Creating Norms)"




A Note from the Director

When I first met Henry, he was just 10 years old but even at that tender age, I saw a young boy wise beyond his years and hungry for life. I guided him through a number of theatrical productions and helped shape what would've been a rewarding career in the arts.

Like so many, I wasn't aware of his "dual identity" and the life that his alter-ego "Renegade,” would forge for him. When the news of his shooting hit the media, I was determined to reach out to him and see about his well-being. I did so as a friend and former mentor. At that time, I wasn’t thinking about making a film about this journey but the more time Henry and I spent together, the more I realized that the greatest performance and the one that would have the most profound effect on an "audience" was his own story . . . told in his own words. No script, no costume, no fear.


Stephen Dest
Award-winning Filmmaker Professor of Film Studies

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