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One Life to Live's "Live" Week - Cast Interviews
Exclusive interviews with seven cast members of the show.
By Kate Walsh

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Kristen Alderson

KW: Have you asked anybody's advice - Roger or Kassie....?
KA: Erika Slezak and Kassie DePaiva always give me advice, and I love that. When they come over to me...and they start talking to me, I get so excited, because I'm so glad that they...they're just so kind to me and stuff. I'm really thrilled.

KW: If you have any questions, you'll probably go to them?
KA: Yeah.

KW: Have you had any dreams about it? Do you ever dream about this show?
KA: No.

KW: Starr has her fantasies.
KA: Yeah.

KW: Have you done any theater before?
KA: Yes. I was in the Broadway play Annie. I played Molly.

KW: Do you have friends and family who are going to be watching especially this week, or do they always watch?
KA: Rebecca, my best friend, and Jen, my best friend. And my family. You know, my mom, my dad, my brother. Everyone. I think everyone's going to be watching.

KW: Is your brother on during the live week?
KA: Yes.

KW: Do you rehearse together?
KA: Yeah, sometimes.

Kassie DePaiva

KW: Are you prepared to ad-lib if necessary, because there's going to be a timing problem if someone goes up on their line?
KD: Yeah, but there's always a timing problem. There's a timing problem even when you're taping. If you're in the last set of the day, you either have dialogue cut or you're trying to stretch. So we're used to doing that. We have already taped many live shows that the audience is very unaware of that we've done. We've been practicing in that format, and it's been pretty great. So, if they're expecting to see something that's out of the ordinary, I don't think that's true. I think there might be the possibility for a camera boggle or things like that, but not actors.

KW: How many episodes will you be in that week?
KD: Four too many. It'll be what it is. I'm nervous just because it's the climax of my story. That's the week that I find out Todd lied to me. Those types of things, sometimes don't go in one take, and that's all I'm gonna give. There's a part of me, that's upset about that. But there's also a part of me that's challenged by that.

KW: Have you been studying the script more than usual?
KD: No. I've got 'em sitting on my table, but I have to learn today's script or I have to learn tomorrow's script. I'm going on vacation next week and I come back and I do seven shows in four days, and then prepare for the live week.

KW: Did you know beforehand that the reveal would be that week?
KD: No. It was never really broken to me. You just kind of figured it out. 'Oh, this is what's going to happen.' Cause it's sweeps, and it's an important story. It's a reason to watch One Life to Live whether we're going live or not. Our stories are really good right now, and Gary has twisted the cast into... Everybody's got something to do. And not only just their story, but everybody across the board has a lot more to do and is more involved in Llanview.

KW: It should be somewhat of an honor.
KD: Yeah. It's a big... It's a good thing. But I think all the stories are really important during the live week. I think not only is the Todd/Blair story, I think there'll be a lot of wonderful surprises.

KW: What have your industry friends said about the live week?
KD: The only person in the industry that I talk to is my husband, and he's very excited about this. Actually, I ran into Crystal Chappell, and she said, 'I'm going to be watching One Life to Live.' She's very excited about it. Because everybody's jealous over on their show.

KW: How about friends and family?
KD: I think that they'll be watching. But my family watches...my mother's taped every episode of every show I've ever been on.

James DePaiva

KW: Kassie says you're more excited about this than she is.
JD: I'm more nervous. Yeah, actually, shooting a live show is even more tedious, because you rehearse more. In rehearsal you're used to doing it so fast. The only fear factor now is the liveness of it, because we've been doing test shows that we've been putting on the air. And the crew and everyone have done an incredible job. We've all gotten very blasé about it.

KW: Have you had any dreams about it?
JD: No. No stress sweats, no anything. It's the same as doing theater. It's no different than that. If you screw up, you've got to go on. You don't have the depth of rehearsal or anything like that to help wind your way through.

KW: Is it any different having millions of people watching you while you make a mistake as opposed to a theater full of people?
JD: Not having done it yet, I can't say for certain, but I would think that when you have people there, you generally feel more... With the cameras, you can't tell. You can't tell whether anyone's snickering at you at home or laughing at that you're tripping over your words. I'll probably do more vocal and speech exercises that morning than I've done in the last five years, just to make sure that everything's working properly. I just look forward to it as being different. We tend to do these shows the same way year after year after year. It's like going to any other job and doing the same thing every day. Actually, it's kind of like going to school and all of a sudden the teacher says, 'We're goin' on a field trip.' So this week 'll be fun, because it'll be like a field trip. We get to do something different. We get to put a little edge on it, and the way the schedule's done, we're done at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Works for me. I love that.

KW: If you're on the next day, do you rehearse after?
JD: We'll rehearse from 3 to 4, 3 to 5.

KW: How many episodes will you be in?
JD: I'll be in four.

Timothy Stickney:

KW: Are you nervous?
TS: I'm from the theater. I'm trained for live performance, and I'm a shy person. Really shy. Performance is partially how I learned to deal with people period. But, over the years, the more nervous I am, my gift is that I look more calm. So, I'm going to be OK with that; you wouldn't notice. But the fear of forgetting a line or the audience not liking the show, is what gets me through the show. The few shows that I've known I was horrible, from first breath to curtain, is when I wasn't nervous. When I was calm, cool, the palms weren't sweaty. No butterflies or bats before the first entrance. Those are the nights when I'm like, 'OK, something's weird.' I don't think I'll have to worry. Terror gets me through it. I'm not going to stop the boat. It won't be me.

KW: Do you have friends and family who will be watching?
TS: Oh, everybody is asking. I mean, people who I know who don't really watch this show but watch soaps, know that we're going live, and they want to know what I can tell them. I stop giving them anything long ago. I just tell them, 'Well, you know, it's really goin' to  be... The people on the other shows really are looking at it like NASCAR. They're thinking, 'What happens if you drop your cup and everybody laughs?' They're thinking about that kind of thing. They don't really consider the gazillion things that could suddenly just happen, and we usually stop. And that's when it gets to be funny. Cause then you have to finish. That's a show. The scariest thing for me, and it's why I did the Othello in February, is it's going to be linear.

Our sense of the time of the show is very different. We do all of one set. So as I was reading the script - and it's put together the way it's going to be shot - I realized, 'What am I doing? What do I do when they come back to me?' You never know. That's weird. And for me, right before we tape everything, the first thing, or the last thing I say is, 'First line.' Just tell me whose it is. Generally that'll get it. Because you have a lot of sameness going on. It's like, 'Who has the first line?' 'You do?' 'OK, what is it? Ah. OK, I'm ready to go.' So it's kind of like, I haven't worked out that process. How do I get that done. I don't cheat. It'll be good. I can't imagine me not watching it. I don't watch doctor/cop/lawyer shows. I watched the live ER. And after I saw the first one, I wanted to be able to see the West Coast feed to see the second try. So if I weren't already here, you know I'm taping. You've got to see it. Actors are going to be live on TV. The Twilight Zone just started playing. They're live again on Sci-Fi. There's this guy who has like a tour-de-force. He has a monologue for 35 of 50 minutes of the show. He's a car salesman. It's amazing. So we've got nothing to worry about.

Catherine Hickland

KW: So tell me your feelings about the live week. Excited, nervous? Both?
CH: Both. Excited and nervous. Not terrified, because actually, I'm only in one show, so I don't have it so bad. But I'm very excited, because I think that it's really an exciting thing that a lot of people that have maybe never seen the show will see it. And that there's always the possibility we might hook somebody new in. And it's ambitious and of course never been done. And all those things.

KW: So you're excited to be a part of it?
CH: I remember when they did ER live. And I watched it, even though I didn't really watch that show, and I had seen it maybe two, three times before. And I remember watching it thinking, cause it was on videotape, and I thought, 'Why, it looks just like any soap opera on the air.' So it just goes to show you that the depth of film...I mean if our show was filmed, like a nighttime show, we'd have a kick-ass show. I mean, we do have a kick-ass show, but it would be just as good, if not better than most of what's on nighttime television. So, you know, that was an interesting observation for me.

KW: So will you be watching the other four days? Sitting at home? Are you coming here?
CH: I'll watch live, because that's the whole point of it.

KW: Is Michael excited about it?
CH: He's excited. You know, I've had actors on other shows call me. Kin Shriner called me from California. I hadn't heard from him in years. Because everyone's very envious. Because, that's just something other people seem to wish they could be doing. That's interesting to me too. ...I thought we should have done the last episode of Loving live and then morphed it into The City. Done the black-and-white live and morphed it into The City in color like The Wizard of Oz.

Ty Treadway

KW: Are you excited about the live week?
TT: I'm extremely excited. We just did a practice run, and for the actors, not a whole lot different than every day. Yesterday, we did probably 10 scenes...or I had 10 scenes or so or something like that. We didn't really get a chance to rehearse at all, and we just taped it. We just go straight to tape. We did two big shows in a day yesterday. For us, you really only get one take anyway, cause the time. The pressure's more on the production staff and the crew. It was funny - I didn't even realize how much pressure is on until we did the test show the other day. And you see - the cameras are trying to squeeze by each other, and there's a boom coming in, and they're goin', 'Alright, we're back from commercial in 10 seconds.' And you hear, '9, 8, 7...' and you're like 'Well, wait a minute. I'm don't have any cameras. How am I going to act?' And at the last second, these cameras just come flyin' in from all directions, and they're like, 'Hit the mark in one second and the light goes on.' And that's the thrill about it. The crew is runnin' around like crazy tryin' to stay quiet, so you don't hear 'em when you're filming on the other end of the studio. That's the excitement. Everything's movin', and the energy is great.

People like our music editor/ music director, don't realize his job. He has to score...set music to every scene. He doesn't really know how long it's going to be. He doesn't know what's going to happen. He's going to do it ahead of time now, and then put the music, do it live. It's amazing. I don't know how he's doin' it. I have no clue. Editing...all that stuff. People like our music editor, it's unbelievable how he's going to be able to do his job. Everybody's going, 'Oh, the pressure on the actors, the pressure on the actors.' We really have no pressure, because we do this stuff every day. The pressures are really on the production crew, the camera people that have to kind of fly from one end of the studio to the other end, like our music editor and... But the cool thing is we probably have one of the best camera crews in daytime. It's going to be a blast. Gary isn't backing off at all. He's got straightforward. He's takin' all these chances and he's doin' all kinds of crazy stuff...remotes and fights and stunts and love scenes and all kinds of crazy stuff, and it should be great. I'm really, really excited for it.

KW: Have you done live TV before?
TT: That's funny that you say that, because I have a new talk show coming out. It'll be taped in front of a live audience. It'll be a little precursor to. They're doing it in front of a live audience, so it's the same sort of feel. So I guess it'll get me kind of warmed up for SoapTalk. 

KW: Will it be like doing theater?
TT: I hear people say: 'Oh, it's not a big deal. They're just doing theater.' Well, guess what? Theater, you get three months to learn your lines and rehearse. Here, we're doing another 100 pages every day. That's the difference, but that being said, the theater experience definitely helps, because it makes you deal with whatever happens as opposed to getting too nervous. But who knows? Maybe I'll get up there and completely freeze and if that happens, that'll be fun too. That'll be the thing where I look back and go, 'Hey, remember that time we did live and I couldn't remember any of my words and I just kind of stared at the camera?' 20 years from now I would love that part of it. Yeah, no question, I think 20 years from now, I won't remember anything else, but that's the thing I'll remember about my career. No question.

KW: How many shows are you in that week?
TT: Three. I'm in...three. I probably shouldn't say which ones I'm in, but I'm in three.

Hillary Smith

KW: Are you preparing for the live week differently from a regular week?
HS: No, it was important that we had the scripts [early] because we're shooting beyond that now. But as far as preparing, I have to really put that away now. I've read it, put it away, and I probably won't sit down with the whole week until that day, that week.

KW: Are you working three episodes?
HS: I'm doing three episodes. I'm doing three shows. I'm one of those people that I would have loved to do all five, I'm sick that way.

KW: Do you have to come in on Mother's Day?
HS: No, I'm not. I have to come in on Monday for rehearsal for Tuesday, and then I have to be here Wednesday for the rehearsal for Thursday, and I shoot Friday as well.

KW: Is it similar to your early days in the soaps where you would shoot in sequence?
HS: Yes, actually when I first started on The Doctors, god back in 81 or 82, we shot that [way]. They'd stop if something horrible went wrong, but really basically nothing went wrong. And then we changed that, we only did it for the first three months that I was on, and then we went to block, dress, tape. When I came here we didn't shoot it as a live show but we did it set by set.

KW: Will friends and family be watching to see if you screw up?
HS: Well hopefully that's not going to be the only reason they're gonna watch, but yeah, it's very exciting. I've been teasing people by saying, "c'mon, watch. Why do you watch the Indy 500? You watch it for the crashes. Everyone's going to be watching to see if we mess up, but really we're professionals so I don't think you're going to see any mistakes. The mistakes you might see are technical, not that our crew isn't professional, but we do have the glitches of boom shadows or a camera shadow or something like that. But there haven't been any mess ups in the practice shows we've done, so I think what you're going to watch is a very energized show that you're not going to know if its tape or live.

>Continue HERE to read the exclusive interview with OLTL's Executive Producer Gary Tomlin >>>

Check out this week's cover story in
 Soap Opera Weekly for more exclusive material on OLTL's live production.


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