There’s no doubt a huge part of the web involves self-promotion, and 30 Rock actor Keith Powell is not ashamed to self-promote. Powell, who satirically describes himself as an “unqualified genius” on his website, has just launched a web series to coincide with the debut of a new musical he is directing. Keith Powell Directs a Play is a fictional six part web series chronicling Powell’s foray into directing Uncle Vanya at a repertory theatre group, ripe with a whole lot of self-mockery on Powell’s part.
Powell actually majored in directing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and on summer hiatus from 30 Rock decided to make a show about getting back into the medium.
Powell created the show with childhood friend, Patrick Flynn. Of his collaboration, Powell says, “Patrick has known me since I was 14 years old, so he knows a lot of stuff that directly makes fun of me in real life. A lot of the stuff in the show is very accurate to who I am. We put it in there and made it more obnoxious, and annoying. We took all of my annoying and real personality traits and turned up the volume.”
We couldn’t help but ask, if there are any parallels between Powell as a director on Uncle Vanya, and as a director in his real career. “I hope not,” says Powell. “I really screw up on Uncle Vanya… I do love to hear myself talk though, so that’s a parallel. Let’s see–I don’t want to ruin any surprises but, you know, there are times when you question am I a mad genius, or just mad, you know? I pretty much abuse the actors in the production, but I definitely dance that line… Is what I am doing effective, or is what I am doing just destructive?”
Powell joins the growing crop of web series from up-and-coming stars poking fun at their newfound fame – Michael Stahl-David: Behind the Star and Clark and Michael. As expected he called upon a number of actor friends to drop in on the self-financed production. “I just thought it would be really, really funny to make fun of me, with a group of people I really enjoy and care about, ” he adds.
New episodes of Keith Powell Directs a Play will be posted monthly, at the beginning of each month, on iTunes, YouTube, Funny or Die, and CollegeHumor. The actual Powell-directed stage production of Whisper House will debut in March with the Delaware Theatre Company, featuring what we’re told is a rockin score by musician Duncan Sheik.