With the Angels: Episode 7 – Ashley Does Helena

Date 2008
Posted by: withtheangels
Credits: Series creator, director and producer Mary Feuer, writer/producer Jonathan Robert Kaplan, writer Werner Trieschmann, Associate producer Jenni Powell. Produced by Strike.tv
Cast: Carly Jones (Ashley Davis)
Duration: 2.16

With the Angels is a web video series produced by Strike.tv and created by Mary Feuer, author of the celebrated Lonelygirl15 web series which convinced many that its confessional tales were true life. With the Angels “tells the fish-out-of-water story of Taffy Simpson (played by Jamie Tisdale), a small-town Arkansas girl swimming in the freak-infested waters of Venice, California”. The plot line for episodes 1-8 is described thus:

Taffy’s roommate Ashley and her best friend Andy throw a party, but Taffy isn’t in a partying mood. Things look better in the morning, though, as Taffy tells us about her new life and her thwarted plan to attend the Sunshine Film Academy. New-agey neighbor Miranda pushes some of Taffy’s buttons, and another neighbor, TV writer Trey Alan Gordon, just might give Ashley’s career a jump start. We learn that sometimes there’s more to friendship than meets the eye as Andy’s feelings for Ashley come into focus.

In episode seven aspiring actress Ashley is seen performing an audition to camera. Her imaginative choice is Helena’s speech from All’s Well That Ends Well, “Then, I confess/Here on my knee, before high heaven and you/That before you, and next unto high heaven/I love your son”. The video follows With the Angels and Mary Feuer’s style in closely imitating web video conventions, so Ashley’s rendition looks a lot like a great many other online Shakespeare auditions, with its intimate playing to the camera (though strictly speaking she is addressing someone positioned just to the side of the camera, which introduces a note of falsity – she’s also kneeling down). At any rate, it’s a fine, heartfelt performance. But why?

YouTube page
Strike.tv page
With the Angels site

With the Angels: Episode 8 – Behind the Scenes of Ashley’s Audition

Date 2008
Posted by: withtheangels
Credits: Series creator, director and producer Mary Feuer, writer/producer Jonathan Robert Kaplan, writer Werner Trieschmann, Associate producer Jenni Powell. Produced by Strike.tv
Cast: Jamie Tisdale (Taffy Simpson), Carly Jones (Ashley Davis), René Alvarado (Andy)
Duration: 6.08

This being a web series, there is more to the tale. In the follow-up episode, Taffy (in characteristic mode confessing to the camera) shows us the full tape of the audition, which she had edited and posted for them. Now we see the soap opera, and why Ashley has chosen this particular monologue (“she loves someone who doesn’t love her back”). Her initially flat rendition is turned into something with feeling through Andy’s direction, and of course through her feelings for him. So now you’ll be watching to watch episode 9…

YouTube page

The Hamlet of YouTube

Date: 2007
Posted by: shaktim
Credits: Filmed by Tim Maloney
Cast: Tim Maloney (Hamlet)
Duration: 3.52

Only on YouTube. In 2007 American Tim Maloney, anxious to be recognised as an actor, launched out on an exercise to provide multiple intepretations of the ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy from Hamlet, a project which he now says has a target of 365 takes. So that’s 365 different renditions of the soliloquy, each numbered and published on YouTube. They are filmed with assorted plain backgrounds, some while holidaying in India; many feature rudimentary editing effects and video distortion, with rock music backgrounds. Maloney’s scheme has clearly grown in ambition as it has progressed, and he now describes it as:

… one actor taking one monologue, or in this case, a soliloquy from Hamlet, arguably one of the most famous of all of Shakespeare’s plays and offering YouTubers a unique insight into what its actually like for an actor to ‘Work out a Character’ using repetition as part of the rehearsal process.

while he now labels himself ‘The Hamlet of YouTube’.

Almost needless to say, none of the interpretations is any good in the conventional sense. Maloney is singularly bad as an actor (and filmmaker), enunciating with agonising slowness and rolling his eyes a good deal, but unable to extract even the slightest trace of poetry or meaning (touchingly, at one point he writes that his renditions have now improved after consultation of Cliff’s Notes). But, to the observer, this is not the point. This is a Warholian exercise in obsessive repetition, using the online video medium (including its mode of publication) to extend its possibilities to logical absurdity. Whether it is ‘good’ or not is irrelevant. It is the banality, not the hoped-for profundity, that distinguishes the exercise.

Above is number one in the series. Maloney’s channel includes 129 more (so far) interpretations, plus other fanciful audition pieces (he harbours a similar ambition to appear in the TV series Boston Legal). The sheer audacity of the effort has attracted increasing notice (his wish is to be feted on Oprah as a ‘YouTube Star’), though so far it would appear that his acting career has been limited to an appearance in a TV commercial and a performance as Hamlet in a peculiar online movie spoof, Hamlet vs Goodzilla. Good luck to him.

Hamlet no. 1 YouTube page page
Tim Maloney …The Hamlet of YouTube channel
Tim Maloney’s personal site

Mini Monologues: Snippets of Shakespeare and others

Date: 2008
Posted by: CoreyAllenX
Credits: Created by Corey Allen
Cast: Corey Allen
Duration: 8.28

YouTube is awash with audition pieces from hopeful actors showing off their Shakespearean party pieces. This selection of pieces from 2008 has been put together by New York actor Corey Allen, and features selections from Titus Andronicus, Othello and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (plus others, non-Shakespearean), filmed in a cafe complete with background noises. What is compelling about such pieces is not so much the quality or otherwise of the acting, but of the intensity and intimacy of performances delivered in close-up.

YouTube page