“Prissy,” “Elfis” and “Sarge” who, unlike my wife’s character, doesn’t swoon or faint whenever I shake my hips — which is probably a good thing…
It’s been two years since I slipped into my sequined, teddy bear-caped, light-up jumpsuit (not to be confused with a different outfit my wife likes me to wear sometimes) to portray “Elfis,” a recurring character each year in our local production of the Holly Jolly Follies. My favorite reason for playing this Elvis-like elf (besides all the ‘nanner sandwiches and hip wiggling) is that I get to play opposite my amazing wife, who portrays “Prissy,” my sweet and completely lovable girlfriend.
Oh, and whenever I shake my hips, Prissy swoons and faints. This is compared to real life, when my wife just asks if I need some prune juice from the store.
The Follies is part variety show, part inspirational holiday story, woven together through the antics of the elves. Because of the large lapse of time since our last production, I had some concerns about re-discovering my “inner Elvis” although, thanks to working out regularly the last two years, my “outer Elvis” has left the building. Playing this character requires a Tennessee accent mixed with Elvis’ own unique speech cadence. It also includes a lot of hip shaking, hand gestures, Elvis poses and a clean shave.
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…