April is shaping up to be a can't-miss month on General Hospital, with beloved character Trina (Tabyana Ali) facing possible jail time for a crime she didn't commit and her family rallying around to give the teen support during the difficult time. A lot of viewers have strong opinions about the storyline currently playing out, and, as can be seen in a Facebook Live video recently released by GH, the actors involved do, as well!
Tabyana Ali, Tanisha Harper (Jordan Ashford), Brook Kerr (Portia Robinson), and Donnell Turner (Curtis Ashford) sat down for a video interview in which they discussed Trina's arrest and shared their thoughts on how the storyline has been written.
"We get the material, and we try to put our heart and soul into it as much as possible," Kerr says. [Trina] was arrested, which, as a mom, and as a Black mom, it's the worst thing you could ever imagine for your child, besides obviously life or death. The past couple of years have taught us that -- as African Americans, we get it."
However, as tough as the storyline may be, Kerr says she appreciated the way so many characters stepped up for Trina without a hint of suspicion that the teen might be guilty of making the sex tape of Cameron (William Lipton) and Josslyn (Eden McCoy).
"The [thing] I thought was interesting about her arrest was it was a clear setup. It wasn't, 'There's the white guy, there's the black guy, and let me chase the black guy, and that's why she was arrested.' It was a clear setup," the actress shares. "The thing that I liked the most was when family wrapped around her... it wasn't like 'Did you do it? What did you do?' Or like, giving her this shame immediately, or immediately thinking the worst. That was never a question. It was like, 'Okay, what's going on? How do we need to protect you from here on out? Let's figure this out. Obviously, it wasn't you, because of you, because of your character.' And I think that that part for families that are in this situation, it's not shown as much. So, I want to make sure that we see this support system that is behind all of these arrests and things like that that you might not see otherwise."
As for Ali, she says one of the best things about Trina's arrest storyline is that it allowed her to show a more vulnerable side of the character.
"Trina already is very confident and very sure of herself. I think naturally, she has... dignity, and she wants to stand her ground about everything," the actress shares. "But I really want to show that even though she is this way, I want her to be vulnerable. She's strong, but she's still 18, 19 years old; she's still a kid at heart, she still wants her parents, wants [their] support, wants people to be around her and supporting her. She's a good person. So, I really want to show the vulnerability that she has, that she's not just strong, she's also emotional."
One thing that did not sit well with the actors about the storyline was the show's original plan to have Trina handcuffed when she was arrested. Kerr reveals that she and a few other actors involved in the scenes talked with the producers and convinced them to leave the handcuffs out.
"When Trina was arrested, we were in blocking, which is rehearsal with the director beforehand, and she was going to get handcuffs put on her, and a couple of us just felt like, 'You know, the imagery I don't think is necessary,'" Kerr says. "We talked about it, we let our feelings be known, a couple of us, and they ended up not doing it, because it wasn't necessary at that moment. It wasn't paramount to telling this story."
Adds Turner, "It was a bit heavy-handed for a white-collar crime. One of the things we said was, 'If it was murder, put some cuffs on her. But something so minor?' The imagery didn't fit the crime, and having a man take this young child off, even by her arm, I think that was sufficient."
The actor shares that overall, GH is good about listening to the concerns of actors, especially when it comes to dealing with representational material.
"Fortunately, we have good writers who aren't so self-involved that their words can't be moved," Turner says. "If we have a good reason and a good alternative, they're usually receptive [to tweaks], the writers and the producers... and sometimes we have to make adjustments based on cultural sensitivity, so I appreciate their willingness and their openness to listen to us and to allow us and to make the adjustments with us."
The actor also thanks "our fearless, open-minded leader, Frank Valentini, for allowing us to have that voice, for allowing that open discourse, so we can be reflected equally and represented equally."
The four actors also touch on what it's like to be part of a show that's been on the air for so long -- 59 years, to be exact, as the soap opera celebrated its 59 birthday on April 1.
"I never thought that at a young age I'd be part of history, and I feel like I'm part of history," Ali enthuses. "I feel like I'm part of a legacy. You say General Hospital, and everybody knows what General Hospital is!"
Adds Turner, "It feels good to be a part of something that's been an anchor in Hollywood -- well beyond our years! We're talking six decades... We get a lot of guest stars that come through here, because I think people are pleased to be attached to this show in some kind of way. I feel like we all grew up watching it, and there are a lot of actors here from when I was a kid, so, to just have some real estate or some relation to this show in any part, especially as it goes into its 59th year, it's more than I could ask for. I didn't see this coming, and I'm grateful."
As for what's ahead for the foursome storyline wise, Turner says to prepare for "all the emotions"; Ali teases that viewers will see Trina recover from her initial shock over being arrested and return to her usual, strong self; Kerr reveals that Portia will fight for her daughter tooth and nail; and Harper previews that Jordan will do everything she can to get to the bottom of the real story behind the sex tape.
"Jordan's on the case," Harper shares. "She's trying to solve the situation at hand, and she definitely has some run-ins with Portia, who is wanting to defend her daughter, and it might possibly get a little heated. Jordan is just trying to figure everything out, and she's in everybody's business!"
Adds Turner, "There'll be frustration and confusion and hijinks and shenanigans. That's Port Charles, so stay tuned!"
Check out the full Facebook Live video, which also includes the actors' thoughts on working with Vernee Watson (Stella Henry) and how they deal with the intense workload of soaps, below.
What did you think of GH's Facebook Live featuring Donnell Turner, Tabyana Ali, Tanisha Harper, and Brook Kerr? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.