Being that “Days of our Lives’” Marlena Evans is not only one of the most compassionate, understanding and accepting characters in daytime, but also a bona fide psychiatrist, it’s no surprise that people across America wish they could sit down with the character and have her advise on all of life’s most difficult questions and conundrums. That may be impossible (unless one could somehow magically pop into Salem), but Marlena’s alter ego, Deidre Hall, is offering the next best thing: She is currently taking to video to answer fans’ questions on her website!
Called “A Kitchen Minute,” the special segments show Hall responding to a myriad of questions regarding life’s mysteries, from relationship woes, to health concerns to everything in between.
“We’ve had hundreds upon hundreds of questions come pouring in, which was a little bit of a surprise,” the actress shares with Soap Opera Network. “We’re calling it ‘A Kitchen Minute,’ because a minute is about the amount of time you can videotape and not go through some other dance, and the kitchen is where we all live. That’s where we’re safest and most comfortable and most nurtured.”
Though the videos were originally supposed to take place solely in Hall’s personal kitchen, the remodeling she recently had done put a snag in her plans. But she took it all in stride and included it in the segments. “It was meant to be done in my kitchen, but I was having construction done, so we did it with the construction going on around me, and you can see it happening,” she says with a smile, adding that it was important for her to proceed despite the surrounding mess. “I’m trying to stay close and let the audience feel that we have a bit of a relationship and that I do care that they’re supportive and that they’re there.”
Speaking of the audience, many viewers are on pins and needles where Marlena and John (Drake Hogestyn) are concerned. With the latter still in a coma, what’s to happen for the beloved pair? “They’ve been on a pretty rocky path lately, and he’s behaved pretty badly and has been gone and just unavailable to her,” Hall explains of the character’s behavior before his recent medical woes. “But like anything else, when you end up in a situation when someone you love is in crisis, that sort of all falls away. And that’s what’s happened with Marlena. She’s empathetic, and she’s concerned, and I think there’s time to sort out everything else after she makes sure he’s going to be ok.”
And, she explains, the couple’s ability to get through anything life throws their way is what makes the pairing so popular. “Their devotion is so deep,” she says. “Those two people are rock solid. And it’s part of what makes the couple so enduring and endearing, and it also gives them longevity. Because we need that couple on the show: We need that couple that is rock solid, unwavering. You know that whatever happens, they will always find their way home. So I think that’s important in a show, and we happen to be that couple.”
Though it’s a bit in the future, the onscreen departure of Sami (Alison Sweeney) is another thing that will soon be added to Marlena’s plate. And while Hall couldn’t get too specific regarding her onscreen daughter’s final moments, she reveals that the scenes were filled with tears. “When she leaves, we all get to say goodbye to her, and it was a very emotional day for everybody,” she says. “Behind her back, we were kind of speculating on why this has been so difficult. I mean, we have people come and go all the time! But somehow, Ali’s departure hit us all really hard. And one explanation that I have is that she grew up here, and she’s become such a role model for sort of having it all. She has a lovely marriage, gorgeous children, she’s busy all the time. She’s directing, and she’s starring, and she’s doing ‘The Biggest Loser,’ and she’s written books, and she’s in commercials. I mean, she is everywhere! And what it gives us is sort of the nod that, ‘Wait a minute, it can be done.’ Talk to Katherine Hepburn 50 years ago. She said, ‘You can’t have it all. You just can’t have a family and a career.’ Well, not so fast. [Ali] has managed to control her world and done it without ever creating a sense of resentment or jealously among the rest of the cast and crew. She’s huge. She became huge to us. And it’s a big loss.”
Luckily, the legacy of Sami will live on — whether she’s in Salem or not — via the stories that will be told. And of course, her son, Will (Guy Wilson), isn’t going anywhere. In fact, he’s become quite an important part of the tapestry of “DAYS,” considering he and Sonny (Freddie Smith) had the first male/male wedding on daytime — which Hall’s Marlena officiated. “It was all so beautiful,” the actress shares of the ceremony, which took place in April of this year. “It was brilliantly written, and I thought it was exquisitely delivered: Everyone had their own in character moment and their own story to tell and their own backstory. And it was just rich, rich, rich, rich. I can’t think of a thing that could have made it any better.
“I also think that the writers are so facile in helping us accept something with which we’re not familiar,” she continues. “By having Marlena say, ‘Yeah, ok, the wedding is fine, that’s ok,’ we sort of take her lead. She’s the wiser of the characters on the show. She is fair, she’s decent, she’s understanding, she’s compassionate. And the fact that she stepped up not just to accept the ceremony but to perform the ceremony, and the other characters that stepped up, I really think it’s a gentle way towards acceptance. Gay marriage is a thing that’s with us, and depending upon how you felt about that in the past, getting to see it done on the show, I think, gives you a new look at how it [is].”
And perhaps, via her “A Kitchen Minute” segments, Hall will be able to give hundreds of fans a new look at life, similar to how the historic wedding was able to enlighten many dubious viewers. Time will tell! In the meantime, you can take part in her journey to stay connected to fans by sending in your own questions. To do so, visit the actress’ official website.