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The Play's the Thing: Three GH-ers Take The Stage in <i>The Busy World Is Hushed</i>

GH stage manager by day/theater director by night, Crystal Craft, was driving home one evening with her husband listening to a play on National Public Radio (NPR) and knew she had to do it. Fast-forward six months and Craft's vision is playing out live at Theater 68 in Los Angeles. Craft and her cast, Jason Thompson (Patrick), Carolyn Hennesy (Diane) and Nathan Parsons (Ethan), sat down with Digest to discuss The Busy World Is Hushed.Soap Opera Digest: In a nutshell, the story explores the complicated relationships between a ghostwriter, a female Episcopal minister and her estranged son. What drew you to this?

Crystal Craft: I was like, "Who decides to write a play about this and why?" I was mystified from the beginning. I just loved it so much and it was like a light bulb went off. Right in front of me at GH, I have the perfect cast for this play.



Digest: Crystal, for our readers who don't know, tell us about your job at GH.

Craft: I'm a stage manager here. I'm part of the directing team but it's not about my vision. I help the director communicate with the actors. But, I come from the theater, not television, so I'm a theater person with a great day job. I tried to keep theater in my life whenever I could but I couldn't do it regularly until Tyler Christopher [Nikolas] and Ronnie [Marmo, Ronnie] and the people put the Theatre 68 company together.



Digest: Tell us how that happened.

Craft: At the time, Tyler had left the show. He wasn't even working here at that point he came to the lot for a memorial for [late producer] Marty Vagts. I hadn't seen him for a few months and he told me he started a theater company and said, "Do you want to come and see what it's about?" And that was nine years ago.

Carolyn Hennesy: Wow.



Digest: Carolyn, you have an extensive theater background. Nathan, you've got a dance background. Jason, what about you?

Jason Thompson: Well, at this point, we've had two rehearsals.

They all laugh.

Thompson: I've never done theater before.



Digest: Are you nervous? Excited?

Thompson: All of it.

Hennesy [sings]: "Everyone has a first Romeo."

Craft: We get to say we're Jason's first time.

They all laugh.

Thompson: I'm a virgin in a lot of ways [laughs].

Craft: And he's on every page of the play. He's so brave.

Thompson: I'd never done theater before and honestly, Kimberly [McCullough, Robin] said, "You need to do this." As actors, we're so lucky to have these great jobs, but at the same time, I didn't get in the business just to buy a house and be comfortable. I wanted to do something that was going to push the limits and force myself to be scared s---ess and I'm in that position right now. But, I'm working with people I'm comfortable with, which is a huge bonus. It's a stretch from what I'm used to, for sure, but that's what I was looking for.
Digest: Carolyn, why'd you accept this challenge?

Hennesy: I wasn't doing much of anything.

Craft: Other than two TV shows, writing a series of children's books and renovating a house.

Hennesy: I read it and said to Crystal, "I don't know. This woman lacks fire and she doesn't stand up when she needs to and she's a bit silent when she shouldn't be," and Crystal just looked at me and said "Really?" And then I realized with GH and COUGAR TOWN, I play forces of natures. Diane and Barb are fiery. They say what they think and go toe-to-toe with anybody, so when I looked at this play again, this woman is so deep and profound and is fighting for her life and because of what I've been doing for the last few years, I missed that. Those muscles haven't atrophied, but that radar had been shut down, and when I realized that, I leapt. These are muscles that are tight and need to be loosened up.



Digest: What about you Nathan? Are you nervous, as well?

Nathan Parsons: Yes, I am nervous.

Hennesy: Well, you should be.

They all laugh.

Parsons: I've done a lot of dance and musical theater, so a straight dramatic play for me, I haven't done that a few years. So like Jason, I wanted to change the scenery and try something new. When I first read it, I was impressed with the writing but wasn't sure it was something I wanted to dive into right away. I tentatively said yes and it went to the back of my head because I was doing another production, I had the show, so Crystal had to remind me [laughs]. But thank God I did. The past few weeks have been wonderful. It's great to be doing material this heavy and layered. There's a lot to act here.



Digest: Crystal, what can theatergoers expect?

Craft: It's a thinking play. I've warned folks it's not going to be everybody's cup of tea. There are moments of lightness, but it's about the big issues of faith, religion, the human heart, irreconcilable differences. It's a very heady play ... with two cute guys and the sexiest minister you'll ever meet!



The Busy World Is Hushed, a play by Keith Bunin and directed by Crystal Craft, is playing Saturday, Oct. 9 & 16 and Sunday, Oct. 10 & 17 at Theatre 68 in Los Angeles. For ticket information and show times, call (323) 960-5068 or visit www.Theatre68.com.

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