Sharing my secrets to incredible, two-word acting

image Some of you may have noticed I’ve been a little remiss on my blog this week. And while not having our three teens at home during spring break is partially responsible (do I really need to explain?), it’s also because I’ve been preparing for my role in our local production of Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, “Our Town,” in which I play the coveted role of the complex character known as “Angry Farmer.”

As my friend, blogger and internationally-acclaimed thespian (he lives in Canada) Ross Murray can tell you, emersing yourself in such a pivotal, two-word performance is emotionally exhausting. However, it was all worth it when I overheard our director describe my portrayal of “Angry Farmer” to the rest of the cast as “Ned’s role of a lifetime. I promise. Even if we all have to change our phone numbers.”

Given that kind of endoursement for my natural acting ability, I felt obligated to share some of my secrets with other thespians with this short how-to video: Ned’s Secrets to Incredible Acting

As I mentioned in the video, the final shows are this weekend. So if you happen to be on the central Oregon coast, I hope you’ll stop in to see my portrayal of “Angry Farmer.” One of our directors, Jennifer Connor, told me my performance is “unforgivable.”

I’m sure she meant “unforgettable,” but I know she’s been under a lot of stress…

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

79 thoughts on “Sharing my secrets to incredible, two-word acting”

  1. Wow! Next stop Broadway, if you can remember your two words. “Is he?”
    I wish I had been in our high school plays especially since my dad created the most unbelievable sets. I was too insecure.

    Nothing scares me now, except….. WHO WILL BE THE FINAL EIGHT???? I have never watched the NCAA Tournaments, but somehow, I’m in the 99.7% in the ESPN Challenge after last night’s games. I may not have any fingernails left after this weekend.

  2. Sudden off-beat pauses. Unusual speech rhythm and emphasis. Unpredictable deliveries and deadpan expressions. Christopher Walken got nothing on you!

  3. Well if you’re actual performance is as mind blowing as the rehearsal, I suspect your agent will have you booked on broadway asap! Break a leg my friend!

  4. I’m sitting in a car dealership laughing to myself and disturbing the other patrons, but not as much as they are disturbed by your pronunciation of “poutine.” Sharing this with my actory friends.

    1. Ha! I looked for the correct pronunciation of poutine everywhere! I finally settled on something that possibly sounded “French” but without it sounding like “poon-tang.”

            1. Ah-HA! That’s better. At least now I won’t be made fun of if I ever come to Quebec and order a bowl.

              It could happen. (Coming to Quebec, I mean.)

  5. OMG…I am DYING over here. I just don’t even know what to say.
    I’m still distracted by the poutine and kept hoping for an “aboot” to slip out.
    Pardon me while I tweet…

  6. Very nice Ned. I knew we were kindred spirits… I too have done a bit of two word acting. I was awarded the role of a butler in Arsenal Technical High Schools 1975 production of Oscar Wilde’s Trivial Comedy for Serious People: “The Importance of Being Earnest” wherein I delivered that immortal line, “Yes, Sir.”
    So you see, I too am a thespian trapped in a man’s body. Now, “Break-a-Leg!”

  7. “From L. Thespis, Gr. , the founder of the Greek drama” – What a natural description of you Ned = the founder of drama. I can hear you now: ” Is it?” Indeed it is. You thespian, you. has a ring to it doesn’t it? Well, playing a slightly demented farmer – no, wait, upset farmer?, hmmm, perhaps it was unhappy farmer? Oh, well, a farmer anyway.

    Very well done my fiend – I especially like the role your wife played in the video. She was superlative – so convincing, such annunciation, such believability. I am so pleased that you secured such a professional to coach you.

    Ha! Break an arm Ned! Oh, waot. is that break a toe? No, maybe break a finger? Oh well. break something!

  8. Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed that! Then I discovered I had the sound muted, but I promise I’ll look at it again. Soon.

    Seriously, though, you should get some advice on how to deal with groupies. Well done.

  9. I am dying! As a fellow “thespian” I think you did an unforgivable.. er I mean Unforgettable performance also!!! he he! I totally believe you are an Angry Farmer!! πŸ˜‰

  10. Wow! You have made the big time Ned! Japan said and big censoring NO when I hit play. I’ll assume the Emperor knows best and that I shouldn’t watch, for my own good.

      1. Oddly enough, I knew exactly what you meant. And it’s 5 p.m. here, well past coffee time. I’m not sure what that says about me. But at least we understand each other.

  11. First comment: As a full-fledged Canadian, I do not like poutine, and it doesn’t matter how you pronounce it. πŸ™‚
    Second comment: Do you realize you sound Canadian, not American?

  12. HA,HA,HA,HA,HA!!!!!! You had me in stitches, Ned. πŸ™‚ Very well “played” and hilarious…and Jack Black. Your rehearsal partner was pretty good herself. Can’t say I’ve ever spent the time sans kids rehearsing lines but it looked like fun.

  13. Dear Ned,

    Your performance tonight as -angry..farmer- was magnificent. Even though I didn’t actually see it, I sensed, metaphysically, the depth of your two words as they electrified the cosmos. Shakespeare himself was likely turned in his grave for having been born far too early as to have not been able to take advantage of your great acting prowess. Or, he was just turning in his grave. Either way….

    I am in awe, once again, of your many finely-tuned talents. I fear I shall now have to turn to the sordid arena of acrobatics to step up my cheer-leading game to meet the newly set bar of your just desserts. Dare I even consider taking on a second number 1 groupie to uphold the role at this new level?

    I will retire to the sensory deprivation tank in order to clear my head of the unearthly reverberation of those words, “Is he”? I need to mentally re-set before I begin my trek to (probably via to the Himalayan gurus) the lands of near death back-bending experiences.

    For you, anything!

    Kudos from,
    Your Number 1 Groupie

    1. There is no need to “up your game” in the cheerleading regard, Robyn. Even from here, I can β€” like you β€” sense the metaphysical prowess of your acrobatics. So much, in fact, that I think I pulled a back muscle.

      Thank you for all of your sacrifice and dedication as my No.1 Groupie πŸ˜‰

      1. Anything, my fine sir, anything.

        I’ve watched the video a couple of times and it cracked me up the same each time. Too funny, and well done, Ned. I love your humor so much.

  14. I would be there if I could. I still haven’t got that autograph from you I asked for.

    Now let me try this. “Is he?”

    How did I do?

  15. I laughed, I cried, I sought therapy. I’ve also been remiss on the blogging front (yours and mine), but if any two words could welcome me back, they are “Is he?”

      1. Plus, there is probably more than one Robert DeNiro in the world, so that increases the odds of it having been said by someone with that name…

No one is watching, I swear...

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