Monté J. Howell

Monté J. Howell, MFA student, theatre arts

Excavates the self

“Monté could have rested on his laurels with all his high-profile professional work and began to teach, but instead, he has decided to return and strengthen those areas where his technique lacked clarity in order to be a better actor and one day, a strong instructor.” -Eric Stone, emeritus professor

Duluth, Georgia

Faculty mentor/advisor:
Eric Stone, MFA, emeritus professor of theatre arts (design)

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
MFA, Theatre Arts (acting)

Please describe your research:
As an actor, my research lies in the investigation of humanity. My research begins with the work on “self.” Excavating the self allows us to reveal ourselves through the given circumstances a character. Actors are technicians, detectives, and behaviorists. My research aims to teach craft, explore artistry discovered through the work on self, and allow metaphysics to create a rich and authentic performance.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
My research matters because stories have the power to change hearts. Art has been used to teach, uplift people, and challenge the status quo as long as mankind has walked the earth. My art is a form of activism.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?
My research began on my first day of my studies at the University of Iowa. I was immediately thrust into studio work, observation, and the exploration of my craft. As an instructor, I’ve acquired several different perspectives and pedagogies that I actively employ in my classes.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
Being involved in my research has served as an entry way into the university community. Since enrolling in 2021, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in student organizations and work outside of my disciple. I’ve specifically enjoyed my work with the Office of Community Engagement!

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
My goals after graduation are to continue my research in a private setting and resume my professional career. Eventually, I aim to leverage my professional experience and my academic credentials to promote progress in a university setting while maintaining my career as an actor.

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