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Soap Stars Laugh at the Luxury of Learning a Monologue in Two Weeks

Soap operas are often looked down upon in Hollywood, but fans of the genre know just how talented daytime actors are and how hard they work every day. So when The Hollywood Reporter tweeted out a link to a story about how Jeff Daniels had two weeks to learn a last-minute Aaron Sorkin monologue that opened the pilot to THE NEWSROOM, some soap stars couldn’t help but respond!

Hayley Erin, who has played Kiki on GENERAL HOSPITAL and Abby on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS tweeted: “Greatest speech in television history. But… two weeks? Should I be impressed? — Every actor who’s ever been on a soap opera.” 

“Wait. Two weeks to learn a ‘last-minute’ monologue?” said soap hopper William deVry (ex-Julian, GH; ex-Storm, THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL; ex-Michael, ALL MY CHILDREN). “Listen, both Sorkin and Daniels are head and shoulders above many. But yes, Hayley, no actor on a soap would flinch. In fact, two weeks is a pipe dream for soaps.”

Y&R Jack Phyllis
Daytime vets like Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R) and Stafford have to learn an episode’s worth of lines every day!Howard Wise/

Also agreeing with the sentiment was Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R; ex-Nina, GH). “Damn,” she marveled. “Two weeks! I wouldn’t even know what to do with all of that time to learn one speech!”

“‘Are you effing kidding me?’ says every accomplished actor on a daytime serial who must learn and perform easily 25 pages of dialogue a day with no rehearsal, no time, no net, and usually in one take,” tweeted Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GH; Julia, SANTA BARBARA). “To have Sorkin words and glorious sweet time is an acting luxury.”

Mark Lawson (ex-Dustin, GH; Brody, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) couldn’t believe the tweet he read. “Is this a joke?” he wrote. “Jeff Daniels is one of the all-time greats and I’m sure he’d be grossed out by this headline. I worked with a 12-year-old on OLTL who had 50 pages with me in one day. Just the two of us. We got that script a week in advance. #respectforsoaps”

GH Julian Alexis
Grahn and deVry never had two weeks to learn any of their scenes on GH!Sean Smith/

Many actors from film and primetime television who have been cast on daytime soaps have remarked about the heavy workload that requires learning multiple pages of dialogue every day and being given basically one take in which to perform it. And some of those actors have even left those roles because they were unable to handle the pressures of daytime.

So while Jeff Daniel’s monologue that kicked off the critically acclaimed HBO series may be an iconic piece of television history, while congratulating him for learning his lines in two weeks, maybe also throw some praise towards the talented daytime actors who learn hours and hours of dialogue every week!

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