INTERVIEW WITH JAMES GOODWIN (KEVIN)
Read a February 2009 interview with James Goodwin (Kevin) at the PGP Classic Soaps Blog!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
INTERVIEW WITH JAMES GOODWIN (KEVIN)
"There were a series of scenes that took place between Lorna and Kevin when their relationship was just beginning, that is the most memorable. They went for a weekend in the country and were breaking down each other’s emotional barriers, which ended in a great montage of scenes beginning in an old fashioned copper bath tub to…need I say more. It was beautifully directed and really solidified the two as a romantic couple on the show."
Read a February 2009 interview with James Goodwin (Kevin) at the PGP Classic Soaps Blog!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
INTERVIEW WITH PETRONIA PALEY (QUINN)
AWT: When you began playing Quinn on AW in 1981, she was a rather unusual character for daytime (to be honest, she's still a bit of an unusual character for daytime): A capable, intelligent, professional African-American woman. How did the role come about? Do you remember your audition?
PP: I remember my Another World audition and my good karma vividly. Initially, my first contact with the producer, Paul Rauch, was when I auditioned for another contract role which I didn’t get. That role went to a white actor and it was short lived. But when the Gods of Daytime decided that Steve Frame would have a secretary, I was offered the part. Just like that: no grueling audition, no callbacks, no sleepless nights and endless days of waiting to hear my fate. The acting gods had chosen me. I was awarded a role I loved and a job that lasted for several years and I never had to audition!
AWT: How much did you bring to the role as it went on? How did Quinn evolve from when you began playing her to when your run ended?
PP: I’ve been told that the writers are influenced and informed by what they receive from the actors, so in the development of Quinn, I only can say that they must have liked what they saw. I wanted to give one hundred percent, to do and be my best. I remember my first day at the studio. My scene was to be taped at the end of the day. I was so determined not to be late or not there when called, not to get anything wrong that I sat there for hours waiting. It wasn’t until one of the crew came over and explained that they wouldn’t get to me until very late in the afternoon, that I relented and went to my dressing room. I’d had a contract role on a soap (before) -- briefly, they’d euphemistically 'let me go' -- and subsequently, this time, I was determined not to squander an opportunity. Over the years, I learned how I needed to work. I saw that some actors could learn lines quickly, easily and at the last minute. I could not. I found what worked for me. I became a student of yoga after losing the other job, because I needed to learn how to relax and breathe properly. It was important for me to always be on top of my game, so learning how to do that became enormously important.
AWT: In the early 1980s, AW attracted some phenomenal African-American talent. In addition to you, there was Michelle Shay, Joe Morton, Howard Rollins, Reggie Rock Blythwood, and Morgan Freeman, among others. How in the "world" did Bay City get so lucky?
PP: At some point, the decision was made to expand my character, which meant giving Quinn Harding a love interest. The wonderful Bob Christian was hired. Because soap opera thrives on youth and the eternal love triangle, I was given an adopted daughter, Thomasina, who in turn had a boyfriend who just happened to be Bob’s character’s son. The plot thickened when the lovely Michelle Shay was brought on as his wife. From there, the characters and story grew. Howard Rollins, fresh off the success of the movie, Ragtime, was brought on as my brother. Jackee was hired as Thomasina’s funny and irascible aunt. Eventually, I had a construction company and Morgan Freeman was brought on as a business partner who later married the available Henrietta after Bob’s character was killed. Over the ensuing years, there were other love interests in Joe Morton, John Carter, and James Pickens. It came as a shock when I was told that Quinn would be killed, but all good things must come to an end.
AWT: What was it like working with such a phenomenal company?
PP: It was wonderful working with all (the other actors). Most of them had strong theater backgrounds. They knew how to create characters that were not stereotypes, but believable and truthful. We enjoyed each other’s company and often socialized together. Working in daytime can put you in a kind of bubble, so many actors in general and African-American ones in particular, lack opportunities. So when you are working, you belong to this special little world of not only being a working actor, but working in television and all that that entails. It can be a rather heady and seductive experience, but we were grounded in doing the work and living the lives we wanted to have.
AWT: Do you see Quinn as a character of her time?
PP: Quinn started out as Steve Frames’ secretary, then she became his partner and when he was written off, she became Rachel’s partner and friend. It was a time when women were working more and more in the corporate and business worlds, they were opting for careers and not just being moms and housewives, and I suppose the show wanted to reflect that in Bay City. Quinn never married and perhaps that too was a response to women choosing to delay marriage and child bearing for a career. It was a time when women thought they could have it all, when the glass ceiling seemed as unbelievable as Cinderella’s glass slippers.
AWT: What are your favorite memories of life in Bay City? Do you have a scene or a storyline that particularly stands out for you?
PP: The storyline most prominent in my mind was the one beginning with Bob Christian. He was very special. Immediately we bonded and became friends, yet the memory is bittersweet. It was a time of extremes -- great highs and the requisite woes -- because unknown to all, Bob was dying. He actually only lived a few months after being killed off the show. I remember my shock when he came to my dressing room and told me his character’s fate. For months, he’d been suffering from some mysterious undiagnosed condition and daily we talked about it. It was only at my prompting that he went to a doctor I recommended, and was finally told that he had an incurable 'cancer.' But before and during, there was the exhilaration of my first on-camera love affair, of being interviewed for magazines, of having fans, of being recognized, of working a lot, and enjoying it. But the death of the character and the man was a surreal experience of life imitating art. When Bob’s character was shot, Quinn suffered and cried. When Bob died, I suffered and wept. The friendship I hoped to have a lifetime lasted just over a year. I gave the eulogy at Bob’s character’s funeral and I spoke at Bob’s memorial service.
AWT: Is there a storyline you wish you'd had a chance to play, but didn't?
PP: A storyline I would have liked to have had was one in which I had a wedding and had to wear a big beautiful wedding gown. Quinn was always a bridesmaid and never a bride. Daytime was my professional training ground. It taught me to be disciplined, focused, yet flexible, to spin on a dime. It taught me the value of preparedness and the virtue of working fast. It taught me humility, to accept what life gives and takes with equanimity. It taught me how to move forward when I wanted to stay still. It taught me that I was more than my job, that it’s easy to think you are what you do and to accept the illusion of 'celebrity' as who you are. Because of depression, I knew actors who had to seek therapy to help them (get through) life after the soap. I certainly had to deal with the loss of my job and being Quinn, but when I left, I wrote my first full-length play. Perhaps writing was my therapy. Ultimately, it gave me confidence; it pushed me out of the nest before I thought I was ready or willing to fly. And curiously it brought me closer to my father, because I knew he was proud of me.
AWT: Do you have a favorite memory from your time on the show?
PP: My favorite memory of my life in Bay City is the legacy that each of those African-American actors brought to the show and the history of daytime. I enjoy knowing that my character, Quinn, inspired the network and Procter & Gamble to make a major commitment to the development of those characters. An African-American writer was also hired; he may have been the first ever. Even though other actors of color had been on the show, they existed alone, without family; they were a community of one, but we were there front and center. Diversity and inclusion are the buzz words now, but ‘back in the day’ in Bay City, there was a community of people of color who were movers and shakers making a difference. They were there with lives and loves and troubles just like everybody else. They laughed and cried and the "world" laughed and cried with them.
AWT: Do you keep in touch with any of your former co-stars?
PP: I recently saw Michelle Shay, whom I’d not seen for several years. As often happens in shows, you form close bonds that you think will last, but then you go on to another project and the same commitment and devotion happens. Life moves forward and we go with the flow. From time to time I’ve seen Morgan. Some of those actors were either from or retuned to California and sadly I have not seen nor kept in touch. Perhaps now with Facebook and other social network sites, I can reconnect. I think I’d like that.
AWT: After AW, you appeared on GL as Vivian. How was Vivian different from Quinn? What do you remember of your time in Springfield?
PP: Quinn Harding and Vivian Grant were opposites. Vivian was married to a doctor whom she manipulated and dominated and had two children she needed to control. She had neither career nor the desire to have one. She was the "good doctor’s" bossy and bitchy wife and that’s how she liked it. She was bad and I loved her. I still miss her.
AWT: You've done a great deal of theater since leaving daytime. What have been some of your favorite projects? How has your background in soaps influenced your current endeavors?
PP: I’ve been challenged and blessed with many projects since leaving AW and Daytime. I’ve evolved and developed many skills and talents that had I stayed there, may have remained dormant and undeveloped. There was a period of doing classical theater which I love. I started teaching acting and have founded I the Actor, which is my brand of acting workshops. I’ve directed both classical and contemporary plays. My latest, Daughter, recently closed at Ensemble Studio Theatre and later this month I’ll begin rehearsal on Ascension, which is being presented in Winston Salem, NC at The Black Arts Theatre Festival in August. I began writing plays, but the writing on my one-woman multi-media play, On the Way to Timbuktu, which was nominated for five awards and won one, is a stand-out. I encourage my students to empower themselves by creating their own shows or directing and producing their movies. So I too had to follow my own advice. I want it to tour the country and the world. Whether teaching, directing, or writing, my best project is when I feel I can be of service to others. I’ve become much better at sharing. When I was younger, I believed that you had to focus on one thing; the adage, "Jack of all trades master of none," was my mantra, but I no longer believe that. I believe that one has an obligation to explore and develop all aspects of the self, and it’s only in the knowing that we find acceptance and tolerance and meaning.
AWT: How would you answer the question: Where is Petronia Paley now?
PP: I stand on the precipice poised to soar: I am on the path becoming....
AWT: Is there anything you'd like to say to the many AW fans who still remember you fondly and continue to follow your career?
PP: I’d like to send my love to the AW fans. I thank you for the love you showed a young and unsure actor at the beginning of my career. You had much to do with Quinn’s longevity and success, for without your love, affection and appreciation, the character would not have survived. I am thankful that I was able to entertain you and to be a friend and a comfort. I wish you all peace, happiness, health and the strength to pursue your dreams.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
INTERVIEW WITH ED FRY (ADAM)
Ed Fry recently returned to As The World Turns in the role of Dr. Larry McDermott, which he first played from 1990-1995. Another World Today caught up with Ed to talk about his daytime debut role, Detective Adam Cory (1986-1989).
AWT: What were you told about the role of Adam when you first auditioned for it?
EF: Just that he was a detective. That he was supposed to be very capable, very smart, sort of a big city detective who was coming to a smaller town to work on a case. As it turns out, he has family in town, so it’s not just any small town.
AWT: Do you remember your audition?
EF: My first audition was in LA. I wasn’t living out there, I was out there working. I auditioned in LA and then I came back to New York and I got another call, this time for a screen-test. There were only two or three other actors they were screen-testing. I would test and somebody else would go in, then I’d go back in, and somebody else would go in. You could feel the competition. You could also feel that they liked everyone they saw, so they didn’t quite know how to make a decision. But, when I walked on the set, there was a page calendar, and it was open to my birthday. And I said, “That’s it! This job is mine! That’s the sign! This is very auspicious!” One of the things they asked us to do was, the actress who was screen testing with us (Ed. Note: Not an AW regular), I was asked to look at her and (talk) about her face, or some feature on her face. I was very comfortable doing it, it was like doing an exercise in acting class, there was nothing scripted. I looked at her, and she had quite beautiful eyes, so I talked about that. I always thought that was what got me the job. I see the actress from time to time on TV and I think, “There she is, the actress with the pretty eyes who got me the job on the show!”
AWT: Since it was your first daytime job, how did you adjust to the pace?
EF: They were smart enough to work me in a few pages a day. Fifty pages a day would have been beyond me. I remember the very first day I was on the show. Robert Lupone was my older brother (Neal). We had this scene where we were supposed to be sneaking up on something. In the scene, he whipped around and when he did, his elbow accidentally clocked me right on the bridge of my nose. All I saw were stars. So my first day, I almost get knocked out on the set. How auspicious! My eyes were going in three different directions, but I said, “I’m fine! I’m fine!” Poor Robert, he just apologized and apologized. I really was kind of loopy that day.
AWT: So you had nowhere to go but up!
EF: I remember very early on, in the first month or so I was on the show, I was in the Cory living room and basically all the established cast was in that set. Because they were all familiar with it, they were very loose and chatty, talking it up, and because I was new to it, I had a lot more nerves. At one point, I thought: If I don’t say something, I’m going to die! So I actually had to turn to them and say, “Excuse me, I really need just a little help, if you guys could keep it down a little, I would appreciate it.” Well, they all turned and looked at me like: Who just said that? What did he say? And I thought, “Oh, shoot me now.” But I had to do it. As an actor, you have to take care of yourself, you have to ask for what you need. And I want to say that I have never, ever, ever, ever forgotten this: Connie Ford (Ada) came to me later. Now, Connie could be really gruff. She could be tough, she could be hard. She came to me later, and she pulled me aside, and she said, “Good for you! You stuck up for yourself, you asked for what you needed. That’s the right thing to do. If people are talking when they shouldn’t be talking, you just tell them to shut up! This is a professional set, we’re all professionals. Just because someone else is larking around doesn’t mean you have to. Good for you for standing up for what you need!”
AWT: It sounds like who Ada was on-screen, Constance Ford pretty much was off.
ED: After that, Connie and I got along beautifully. I think she respected my process and I came to know hers and respect hers. It was a mutual admiration society. She was tough, but the thing about Connie was, she was a very experienced actress. She worked in Hollywood, she worked in films, she worked in television, she worked with everybody, she worked high, she worked low, she’d seen it all. She wasn’t in the business of taking much from anybody. She was very clear about what she needed as a professional in the moment to be able to get the job done. I’ve actually thought about Connie on occasion recently. She was very big on rehearsal and making sure you were paying attention in rehearsal. That you had props, and the pieces of business that you needed for the scene. That you have all that in rehearsal, so that your rehearsal was meaningful. I’ve often thought about Connie in subsequent years as rehearsal has been cut away until guess what, there’s no rehearsal! Which really is a different challenge, especially for younger actors working in daytime today. It’s a very big challenge.
AWT: Does that force the actors to rely more on themselves or on their directors?
EF: There were two AW directors that I absolutely remember, Don Scardino (ex-Chris, now with 30 Rock) and Chris Goutman (now ATWT’s EP). Both of them, because they’d worked as actors, knew how to direct actors. Instead of moving you from point A to point B, a director who has been an actor will understand what the question is for the actor, in order to make him do that well. How will you move from point A to point B and why you move from point A to point B, that’s what makes it interesting. One good question from a director can open four or five new questions in my own mind. That’s always of value, and ultimately it ends up better work on the screen.
AWT: So the writers create the words and story, and the director moves you from point A to point B, what do actors bring to a scene, to make it all gel together?
EF: That really has to do with individual actors, both their professionalism and their personal disposition. Some actors have a natural ease and flow about them, which makes working with them just the simplest thing in the world, so natural and easy. And other actors… don’t. As a professional, you have to look and find something that will help open doors, as opposed to just being an obstacle. The thing that always makes it interesting to watch is the chemistry between two actors. And I’m not saying that the chemistry always has to be good. I’ve worked with actors that I have terrible chemistry with, but that terrible chemistry is very alive and very interesting and very useful. I’m not saying there always has to be good chemistry, there just has to be something you can use to bring the material to life and tell the story. ‘Cause that’s what we’re doing, we’re telling stories.
AWT: Do you have a memorable story from your time on AW?
EF: Well, there was the story that never seemed to end! It was the serial killer story. It was supposed to be for four months, and it ended up being a nine month story. I think it killed half the cast. I was supposed to be the really smart cop who was going to catch the serial killer, except I never could. As the story progressed, I had longer and longer days and longer and longer weeks. It just became internal insanity. I had 150 pages a week. So I was doing 30 or 40 pages a day, all just chatting, chatting, chatting. When you’re working five days a week, by the time you get through five looooong days, you’re exhausted. I would go home and sleep for a full day. Which was a problem, because I was already at that point in deficit for learning scripts for the next week. Plus, my mother was quite ill during this period, so it wasn’t just the show, I was having to fly back and forth to Iowa every three weeks and look after her and the house. It was insane.
AWT: How did you survive?
EF: I survived because, personally, when the going gets tough, I have an ability to just put my head down and go. I just focus and get through. That’s really all I did, just push through it. It was a very challenging two and a half years that I was on the show. Very rewarding, but very challenging. I still have friends from that show. I just went to a birthday party with Kale Brown (Michael). And I see David Forsyth (John) and Larry Lau (Jamie).
AWT: Did you and Larry manage to cross paths on ATWT while he was playing Brian?
EF: No. But I actually had an Another World flashback there recently. One of the sets that I was working on at ATWT, a piece of it had an old AW stamp on the back of it. I guess they recycled a piece of the set. It was the top set piece of somebody’s office. The bottom was all new, and then the top they’d recycled and brought in. When you walk around behind the set, you can see what’s new and what isn’t and the piece on top actually said, CORY-AW-22. That reminded me of my AW audition.
AWT: In addition to your return as Larry, what else have you been doing?
EF: I do a lot of writing. My wife and I have things we work on together. I have to say, for all the occasional insecurity of it -- everyone who works in this industry faces the unknowable. You have to deal with insecurity; if you can’t, then this is not for you -- I have to say I have a really interesting life. I have no (serious) complaints. I consider myself a really fortunate individual. I have to work hard, I’m not sitting around, but my life is full of interesting, meaningful responsibilities and people and events, and I am so grateful for it.
Check the PGP Classic Soaps Blog next week for more from Ed about his ATWT role, and how his personal life has changed since Bay City.
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