Just finished watching the five-webisode comedy mini-series Complete Works on HULU.
Pretty cool stuff. It centers around a young college actor Hal Evans, who has been a Bard-ophile since he was a child. He has made the finals of the American Shakespeare Competition (actually he was the alternate in his region, but gets called up) and is flown to Italy for the multi-day competition against five other young actors. They study under coaches and experts and must perform scenes to win the $50,000 prize.
It sounds ridiculous, but it felt very… well, knowing.
And that’s because it’s kinda, sorta, based on fact.
Back ten years ago, an actor named Joe Sofranko won what was called the National Shakespeare Competition (besting over 16,000 competitors from around the nation). Sorfranko is one of the executive producers, writers, and directors… and he plays Hal. One of the other executive producers, and the actress who plays the pseudo-love interest, is Lili Fuller, whom Sorfranko met in a YoungArts theater competition in Miami. And the other executive producer, writer, and director is Adam North, who met Sorfranko and Fuller at USC.
So plucked from real life and into a web-series.
And it’s pretty damned funny.
It starts off a little slow and awkward, kind of like Hal. But as Hal picks up confidence (and a personal coach), the series picks up steam. Of course, as he becomes more confident, he becomes a more egotistical, and quite the jerk. But the final episode brings a satisfying conclusion and not a little bit of redemption for our protagonist.
For a Shakespeare fan, you could do a whole lot worse.
Complete Works is available on HULU, and is well-recommended.