Acting Fun with MPTV ( Mass Participation TV)!
by Neva J. Howell
What is Subtext?
How to Cry on Cue
Fresh Acting Monologues
Cosmic Casting Office
Creative Moments Series
I've been acting since I was a child, although I didn't get paid for it then. In fact, folks may have paid me to go away and stop being such a ham! I have video of myself at about age 11 or 12, shoving myself in front of my sister (Sorry, Deb) to be on the video at Christmas. I made up MTV videos to songs before there was an MTV. Any way, I was in heaven when I found out about a web series platform called theatrics. I joined immediately and started creating videos. My character was named Leda Jo Gupta. That show ran for about two years and was the most fun I'd had in ages!
I was very sad when the Beckinfield Web Series was archived but then, there came even more exciting development. Theatrics opened a beta testing ground for an even more powerful creative writing and acting experience where we could actually develop our own shows. Mine is called Shadrach Village and it's about an eccentric, loveable group of homeless folks who live in an old warehouse. After that, I joined several other shows. Below are a few monologues from characters I've created there.
I absolutely love Nanny Spratt. She's an original character I created for the theatrics.com webseries called The Castle Hassle. I had met the show runner for that web series during our time together on another theatrics show called Beckinfield. Iulia Nastase is a gifted actress but also an amazingly creative writer. She gave me so much to work with in creating Nanny Spratt. The cigarillo that Nanny is always threatening to light ... Iulia's idea. This alone gave me so much to play with. I've used it in every video so far.
Nurse Gertrude: I created Nurse Gertrude for my friend Tina Johnson, for her original web series The Edge of Sanity. It is awesome to watch that first video and then watch the last one and see how much better I've gotten. The German accent was very shaky in the beginning and to add to that challenge, I had some really weird facial mannerisms for Gertrude that took a while to feel natural to me. I also lit the first ones very badly, not knowing yet about manual white balance and other things I've since learned in my broadcasting class at Cleveland Community College, here in Shelby. I love the way Nurse Gertrude coming along. This is her most recent but if you go to my channel, you can see some of the earlier videos and really see how this character has developed, the more I play with her. If you don't want to watch the whole playlist, at least watch the first one and the last one, to see ... she's come a long way, baby.
Vampoola, the Singing Vampire: I created this character for a show called Night Town, show runner another Beckinfielder named Stephen Craig. Vampoola used to be a fearsome vampire in New York until she was bewitched. Now, she has to sing everything and it's made her a laughing stock in the Big Apple. People just think she's part of a show or something. So she moved to Night Town with her two spider friends, Tara and Chula, because she heard there was a warlock who might be able to reverse the spell.
Resource from my favorite acting guru, Michael Chekhov. I first learned about the Chekhov technique when I lived in Los Angeles and took classes with Lisa Dalton, of the Chekhov Connection. Unlike other classes, that felt a lot like work, Lisa's classes were major fun and also resulted in some very effective acting skillss. What I love most about Chekhov's acting exercises were that they employed imagination and right-brain thinking far more than left-brain analysis. No need to count beats or substitute some painful personal memory to reach the truth of an emotional scene. Love this stuff! Check out the chekhov technique for a fun approach to the craft!