Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow: Moving forward without Spencer “is going to be hard for Trina to do,” says Tabyana Ali.
Last week, Spencer was presumed dead on GENERAL HOSPITAL as Nicholas Chavez took his leave to film MONSTER for Netflix, meaning that — at least for now — the popular young love story of Spencer and Trina has come to an end (sniff!). Digest checked in with Tabyana Ali about filming her final scenes with Chavez, what the future holds for a grieving Trina and more.
On Nicholas’s last day, knowing that these would be the last scenes you had together for the time being, did it feel like just another day at work or did it feel more significant? “It was a combination of both, I think. We came in like an hour earlier than we needed to; we came in at four o’clock in the morning just because there were stunts [involved in the taping]. It didn’t really hit me until the end of the day where Nick came and said his good-byes to everybody for the time being. We went out with a bang! I think Avery [Pohl, ex-Esme], Nick and I all really pushed ourselves to give our absolute best. This is such a big chapter in the book. This isn’t anything small or like, ‘He’s gone for just a week and that’s it.’ This is something that we are going to feel for some time, so we just tried to really give it out all, and when it was all done, we all gave each other hugs and said our good-byes and I wished him the best at his new job and I told him I hope he has the absolute best time. I’m really proud of him because this is something that he really wanted. I remember him talking about wanting [to do a project like MONSTER] and the fact that he got it, you know, that’s amazing to see.”
How did you prepare emotionally for the scenes of Trina finding out that the search for Spencer had been called off and he was officially presumed dead? “I’ve never really lost anybody before, like to that degree, but it is one of my biggest fears. I don’t know why, but ever since I was a little girl, my biggest fear was to lose a soulmate or somebody that I love at a young age. I don’t know why it’s that specific, but this whole situation fits so deeply into that fear of mine. I kind of tapped into that and it really triggered something in me. It felt very surreal and very real to me that who I believe is my soulmate is gone. We spent all this time trying to get together and we went through all this turmoil and ups and downs and excitement and joy and then all of a sudden, it’s just gone. There’s no more. It’s no longer, and you are completely and forever out of my life. I just kind of tapped into that fear and then [looking to] somebody who has lost somebody. I wondered what that process looked like for them and I asked some questions and I tried to tap into their mind and see what it was was like for them to lose their person or their significant other.”
It’s such a sudden loss for Trina and one without closure. How do you think that will play into Trina’s efforts to keep moving forward with her life? “I think it is going to be hard for Trina to do. I think to some degree, Trina is feeling guilty. She feels really guilty about all of this, and in some ways she feels like this is her fault. I don’t know if moving forward is going to be on her mind. I don’t think moving forward is going to be a thing she wants to do right now! Like you said, there’s no real closure to any of it. If he was sick and dying and on his deathbed, then she’d probably feel the same way, but she probably wouldn’t feel as harshly about it toward herself because she’d have gotten to say good-bye, gotten to say all that she felt and let him go. But this is so sudden and he basically sacrificed himself for her. So there is going to be some guilt there and some resistance to wanting to live herself.”
Grief is a very heavy emotion to move through and to play, especially for an extended amount of time. Has it been draining to be in that headspace as Trina as you’ve been filming this arc of her storyline? “To some degree, it has been. I’m trying to do it a little bit differently than I’ve done it before, when it comes to grief and challenges like this because it’s so heavy and sometimes it can just sit and last on you for so long and it can be uncomfortable. It kind of puts a damper on your day. But also. at the same time, that’s so great for the performance, to have that heavy and uncomfortable feeling. It puts you in the mindset [of the character]. It kind of feels like you’ve lost a limb, like something’s missing or something is abnormal and there’s a thickness in the air. Typically, I try to go into work pretty happy, but as of late, I’ve just tried to stay consistent in that feeling and in that mode.”
You’ve worked closely with Nicholas since you first joined the show. Can you speak a bit about what having him as a leading man and scene partner and such a big part of your work experience has meant to you over the course of your GENERAL HOSPITAL career? “He is such a hard-working person and he’s really good at his job. He’s taught me how to look at characters differently and do my homework differently and that has had such a positive [influence] on me. I think he is really great at seeing the details and looking between the lines and I would say that he has inspired me in some ways to pick up those habits as well.”
Are you proud of what you and he accomplished together and the way that Spencer and Trina became such an important couple in the Port Charles landscape? “Yes, I’m extremely proud. I’m so, so proud of us and what we’ve done. And I take it back even to Sydney [Mikayla, ex-Trina] — I’m proud of her, too, and what she created. In the most respectful and humblest way, I do feel like we have made history in some way, and I can’t believe that I’m part of that! I can’t believe that’s something that I have, in some way, contributed to. I’m just so thankful — I’m extremely thankful.”
“Sprina” fans are quite heartbroken right now, but they are, of course, invested in Trina’s individual journey, as well. What do you want fans to know about what lies ahead for her? “I would say that Trina is a girl that perseveres through anything and everything. She’s tough and she’s strong, and even if sometimes she might have her eyes closed in the dark, she’s still walking through it. I’m not 100 percent sure of what’s coming towards Trina next, but I know that she’ll be able to turn it into gold.”
Team Spirit: “I’m so, so proud of us and what we’ve done,” says Ali of the impact she and Nicholas Chavez have had on fans as Trina and Spencer.