November 6, 2006

Wow, it only took two weeks for me to write up this synopsis!   

Your Number One Fan hosted a GH fan event in Bethesda, Maryland the third weekend in October.  Saturday, which was not convenient for me, featured Greg Vaughn, Rebecca Herbst, and Ted King.  There is a lovely recap of their events here, and yes the lovely woman who wrote the recap, Linda, turned it in on the Monday after the event.  Shut up.  Sunday featured Rick Hearst, and that event I was able to attend.  

I live in Richmond, Virginia, so I got up very early (seems to be a habit for these things) and drove up to the Marriott in Bethesda.  I was a bit apprehensive because I registered for the event online just that week, and was stupid enough not to print out my receipt proving that I paid.  All I could hope was that my name would be on the list. 

Just like with some of the AMC fan events in August, I had no plans to meet with other fans there.  I wasnít really worried.  Itís always easy to talk to other soap fans, as I discovered at Super Soap Weekend last year.  Waiting in line to confirm my registration, I started chatting with a nice lady.  I asked her if she ever visited the Eye On Soaps website.  She laughed and said that she knows Katrina and several of the other columnists.  Well, now!  Blah blah, small world, blah.  Her name was Sally, and it was really nice to get to know her a little.   

When it was my turn to give my name, I was not on the list.  Filled with dread, I explained to Debby OíConner, the woman who organizes all these events, that I just paid this past week.  She smiled and told me that since there was room, it wouldnít be a problem.  Of course Iím thinking, ďBut I have no proof that I paid.Ē  She waved me off.   Thrilled by her generosity, I gleefully headed off to sit at my table.   

I perused all the nifty stuff they had set up for the raffle.  I decided to buy a few tickets.  Didnít end up winning anything.  I bought a lovely 8X10 of Rick, and sat down to chat with my table-mates.  They filled me in a bit on the previous dayís happenings.  I was told that Gregís event went long because he was very friendly and chatted awhile with each of his fans.  Rebecca was very sweet.  Ted was reserved, yet charming.  I was told that Rick was another one who would likely take his time with the fans.  They said he also has a lot of energy.  I was pretty stoked.  I had a feeling that he would be similar to another actor I love, who shall remain nameless because I need to stop finding ways of bringing him up.  I was not wrong at all. 

When he arrived, I loved his trendy long-sleeved t-shirt, blazer and jeans.  Not metrosexual, just downright sexy.  He started charming our socks off right away with an anecdote about going to the various monuments in DC with Ted King and others.  He went on for awhile, then joked about how long-winded he was.  I certainly didnít see anyone complaining.  Then he segued into the Q&A session, and after awhile I began to realize that his answers were so profound that I needed to start writing notes.  Unfortunately I didnít bring anything to write on, so I ended up using a napkin. 

I donít remember the questions that were asked, I just wrote notes about things he was saying that I particularly liked.  Rick remarked that he noticed how much other characters talk about Ric when he isnít around, especially in a negative light.  He said that, personally, he would prefer that such things didnít happen.  The more other characters ascribe certain motives to Ric, the more likely the audience will perceive Ric that way.  Rick said that all he can do is play the role how heís going to play it, and convey what he believes is Ricís motivation for what he does.  He did talk to TPTB about the fact that the other characters were increasingly casting Sam as a victim in their one-night stand, so they wrote some dialogue into one scene on the docks where Ric was able to point out that their behavior had been consensual. 

Rick also pointed out that it is his job as an actor to play the characters, not to judge them.  He does admit that he finds himself judging Ricís behavior, so he has to concentrate on figuring out what makes his character tick and going from there.  He believes the key to Ric is that everything is really about him.  For example, in the scene where Ric was at the hospital talking to Molly and stating the belief that Alexis didnít love her as much as she loves Kristina, he was projecting his own ingrained fears onto Alexisís behavior.  Another point he made is that Ric tries to be all things to all people, which is impossible given the circumstances, so he falls short in everything. 

Rick loves interacting with the children on the set.  There is a nurse who always goes around with wipes for the adults to make sure that they are sanitized before handling the children.  Rick comes along and starts blowing raspberries on the babyís stomach, and the nurse just throws up his hands in exasperation.  Rick refers to the baby who plays Molly as ďmy little chunk.Ē   

The scene where Sam and Sonny come to take Molly away from Ric was originally supposed to play where Ric just hands her over without a fuss.  Rick argued that it was not in character, that Ric would fight harder, so he was allowed to draw it out a little more.  When the scene was shooting and Ric handed Molly over to Sam, the baby started crying.  That wasnít scripted, but it worked very well in the moment.  Rick said it was very hard to get through the scene after that, and he had to turn away from her so he could finish.  

When Rick first started on the show, it was originally intended that he would be revealed to be Lilyís brother.  The story goes that there was a meeting of TPTB and Rick was standing on the other side of the room.  Someone said, ďIs that Maurice over there?Ē and someone else corrected him.  Apparently that was what sparked the idea of having Sonny and Ric be brothers.  Once the decision was made, Rick was informed of the change, and told to keep it a secret.  The next time he had a scene with Maurice Benard, he could tell by his sly demeanor that Maurice had also been told of the change, also.  Maurice was pleased by all the possibilities such a storyline could open up.  Rick did a great imitation of Maurice as he described their interaction, even adding a few shadow boxing moves.     

After the Q&A, Rick went around to each table, there were 10, to meet the fans.  I was at table 9, so I had a long wait.  I chatted with my table-mates, crossed my fingers that I would win a prize (I didnít), and met Sallyís friend, Linda, who also knows some of the Eye On Soaps staff.  At one point, Linda came up to me and mentioned that she would like to go in with someone on the silent auction for a studio tour with Rick.  The bat-shit crazy part of me that would die for such an opportunity took over my body and said ďIíll do it.Ē  With five minutes left in the silent auction, we placed our bid.  I went back to my table, and a few minutes later I looked over and saw that they were gathering up the silent auction bids.  I went over and saw to my chagrin that someone had snuck in and outbid us.  Yeah I know, allís fair in love and silent auctions, but I was so disappointed.  My bank account is forever grateful to the winner, but my heart burns with regret.  Antacid tablets should take care of that problem. 

I noted while Rick was making his rounds that he was very warm and affectionate  - liberally giving hugs and kisses.  I didnít know if it was because he knew these fans from other events, so I figured I would take my cues from him.  When Rick finally made his way over to me, we hugged and I told him my name.  I said that I was amused by his discussion about other characters saying bad things about Ric.  I mentioned it was a pet peeve of mine when characters, like Greek choruses, portray someone as evil incarnate or sing their praises as if they could do no wrong.  I shook my head and said it was complete bullshit (I figured it was okay to swear since I heard him drop the f-bomb several times).  Rick pointed his finger at me and said that I was his wife.  Brrzzzt!  There went my brain.  He went on to tell me about how his wife will be watching the show and scream at the TV when other characters are putting Ric down.  He demonstrated her ire by flipping the bird with both hands.  He joked that he has to calm her down by reminding her that itís just a show.  It was hilarious.  Kudos to his wife for her loyalty and discernment! 

I went on to say that I appreciate complex characters such as his much more than traditional heroes, and thatís why Ric is my favorite on GH, along with Todd on OLTL and Zach on AMC.  I went into gush mode (the nerves started kicking in) and noted that these characters would probably fall flat if it werenít for the amazing acting talent of himself, Trevor and Thorsten Kaye.  His eyes lit up and he said that he loves Thorsten and thinks heís a great guy and great actor.  I swear that I did not really intend to bring up Thorsten, it just happened.  I stood there a moment, my eyes gleaming in delight, but I decided not to continue that particular conversation.  We had our picture taken: 

 

I thanked him for his wonderful portrayal of Ric Lansing, and almost belatedly remembered to have him sign the 8X10.  He asked me if I spelled my name S-h-e-r-e-e.  Startled, I told him that was exactly right.  He said that was how Steve Burtonís wifeís name was spelled.  I remembered that, and joked that it was always strange seeing her name in the soap mags.  Then he gave me one last hug and kiss on the cheek and then it was someone elseís turn. 

Since I couldnít bring myself to leave yet with Rick still working the room, I continued chatting with other fans, the staff of Your Number One Fan, and Debby OíConner.  The event ran more than an hour over the allotted time.  It was fun getting to meet such a great group of people and I was glad of the opportunity to attend an appearance so close to where I live.  

Pics of Rick. 

Very short soundless video of Rick. 

PS Ė Update!  Update!  Linda and I were given the opportunity try again for the set tour and we decided to take it.  My heart has just seized up and so has my bank account.  I donít suppose anyone wants to donate to a worthy cause (the proceeds go to charity)?  At the very least could you send a paper bag for the inevitable hyperventilation?  Iím going to California!  Eeep!

Thanks for reading.  Cheers! 

    


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