Glamorous, talented actress Fiona Hutchison would easily be able to find work with the CIA, should she ever decide to give up the entertainment business. This woman can keep a secret! That didn't stop me from trying my darndest to find out what her top secret character would be pulling this season on popular webisoap The Bay.
While I didn't get very far in that endeavor (You'll just have to tune in for Hutchinson's "Mystery Woman" starting today on The Bay!), I managed to get the striking and regal Hutchison to wax poetic about her unforgettable daytime characters, One Life to Live's Gabrielle Medina and Guiding Light's Jenna Bradshaw, as well as what she feels has to happen for soaps to successfully transition to the web. She also clued me in on plans to reunite with one of her beloved leading men, Justin Deas, on the stage this summer.
Then I asked Hutchison to make Sophie's Choice. If she had to pick between Gabrielle and Jenna, which was her favorite character and why? Keep reading for her eloquent answer, citing the works of the Bard to drive home her point, as only Fiona Hutchison could.
Daytime Confidential: Okay, so Gregori [Martin, series creator] has already told me your role this season on The Bay is top secret. Can't you give me just a teensy bit of a teaser of what this "Mystery Woman" will be up to in Bay City?
Fiona Hutchison: A lot of mystery.
DC: You starred in three long-running daytime soap operas, One Life to Live as Gabrielle Medina, Guiding Light as Jenna Bradshaw and briefly in 2000 as Celia on As The World Turns. What has been the biggest difference from those experiences to working on a web soap opera like The Bay?
FH: A lot mystery. Just kidding. Working on a web series felt no different than being on set with an indie film crew; and when you have the opportunity to work with good people the time just flies.
DC: Both of your beloved daytime characters were vixens-turned-romantic heroines who were killed off, causing fan outrage. Should we be worried if we see your new character eye-balling one of Sara Garrett's (Mary Beth Evans) suitors on The Bay?
FH: First of all, I adore Mary Beth Evans. Her brilliance is often hidden with the subtle manner in which she "toys" within the emotional realm of a character's vulnerability. I believe that it could be far more fun if our characters were to become collaborators in various tawdry schemes. But in "real" life I would definitely make several attempts at stealing her delectable homemade pies... but how would she ever know? You're not going to tell her, are you?
DC: Your secret is safe with me! It was a testament to your popularity on both GL and OLTL that you were asked to reprise the roles of Jenna and Gabrielle respectively before those soap operas wrapped their runs. How did you deal with the emotions surrounding saying goodbye, not only to those roles, but to the soaps themselves, almost back-to-back?
FH: Yes, they may have been cancelled on network TV, but I'm looking forward to the reincarnation of the genre on the web.
DC: Almost everyone has an opinion about why daytime soaps ended up on the endangered species list. Wha's your take?
FH: The world was exposed to the truth about life via the web, but daytime stayed the same and didn't bother to look at the truth.
DC: The soap community was crushed when plans to take One Life to Live and All My Children to the web fell through. As a veteran of the industry, what has to happen for a daily soaps to successfully transition to the web or other platforms?
FH: Was there really a plan for those shows to segue onto the web? Because if so, I never saw it. Why would a company that planned on bringing the genre to the web not have a web site? And as far as making a transition, I think it's more about reinventing the genre, short and sweet — know your audience.
DC: Okay, Fan Boy Alert: I didn't start watching One Life to Live until the mid-00's, so I missed your run as Gabrielle. However, Jenna Bradshaw from Guiding Light is one of my all-time favorite vixens! Jenna ordering Buzz away from the Spaulding mansion by telling him if Roger caught him there he'd give him the "horse-whipping he so richly deserved" is a line I will never forget, like so many Buzz and Jenna moments. What was it like working with such iconic leading men as Justin Deas and the late Michael Zaslow?
FH:I'd have to say fun, fun and more fun. Speaking of Justin Deas, we are going to be starring opposite each other on stage in God of Carnage opening at the Cape May Stage from June through August. So come and and see us and you can ask us in person! You can visit the web site for more info! http://www.capemaystage.com.
DC: If you had to pick which daytime vamp was your favorite to play, Gabrielle Medina or Jenna Bradshaw, who would it be and why?
FH: I cannot choose between them. In fact, I will not. Both Jenna and Gabrielle were two richly woven characters with so many exquisite layers that I must say, as an actress, I was truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to have been able to play each of them. Characters like Jenna and Gabrielle come along in those rare, unexpected instances when the writer uses the canvas as a magnificent kaleidoscopic tool, with which every emotion one could possibly imagine surfaces and then subsides. only to be enriched by the raw sensuality of the storyline. It would be like asking William Shakespeare if he preferred Ophelia to Lady Macbeth. Macbeth and his wife enjoy one of the darkest, psycho-sexual relationships ever seen on the English stage. Lady Macbeth’s fiendish manipulation of her husband into acts of horrific violence makes her a supreme archetype. Whereas Ophelia portrays the possibility of breaking through the suppressive nature of man through disruptive madness. Being forever suppressed and shaped by men into an ideal picture of femininity, it is through her loss of her father and Hamlet’s disinterest that we witness her downfall, as her place in society disintegrates.
Fiona Hutchison makes her debut on The Bay today at 3:15 EST. To watch, go to www.thebaytheseries.com!