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    Getting on a soap

    When I was pursuing my acting career in New York City, a very good friend of mine was a main character on a soap opera called “All My Children.” I still watch the soap today.

    Deborah Goodrich Royce was my friend on the show. She played the part of Silver Kane, the character of Erica Kane’s half-sister. It was through Deborah that I became interested in being on a soap myself.

    I was eventually cast as an extra on “One Life to Live,” which is still on the air today, as is “All My Children.” I remember there being a tremendous amount of time with me waiting around in what is called the “green room.” It’s a show-biz term designated for the waiting area for the actors to go on the set.

    According  to New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder, “Just about every TV show I do, they show me to the "green room" to chill before I go on the air.

    Not once, never, have I actually seen a green room that’s green. So what I wonder is, why do they call it a “green room”? Seriously. A quick Google search tells me the term has been used in the theater since 1701, but none of my usual word-origin websites has a good explanation. Someone told me not long ago – and this is a theory I haven’t read on the web – that it comes from around Shakespeare’s time, when actors would hang out before their scenes in what was sarcastically called “the green room” – outdoors, of course, in a copse of trees in the forest.”

    Well, that’s one theory. It could also be interpreted as the room in which your stomache is churning in circles from nerves before you go on the set.

    I was an extra playing a nurse. I didn’t have a character name, but you could actually see me on the soap. I was basically in a crowd scene in the hospital. You know how most soaps take place in hospitals.

    Herman has taken to going in another room when my soap is on. He absolutely can’t stand it, and doesn’t understand how I do.

    You could say I specialized in crowd scene extra work. I’m somewhere in the crowd scenes in “The Doors” and “Ghostbusters,” both of which were filmed in New York.

    My only speaking parts wound up being in off-off Broadway plays for which I received no compensation. This also became a theme in my acting career.

    Overall, I spent more time with actors, directors and producers as a waitress in restauarants than I ever did on the set.


    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com