Message Boards

Interview at, June 2009

Trent Dawson (Henry/Geneva)
Henry has had done some crazy things in Oakdale but nothing tops his newest adventure as Geneva. We caught up with his portrayer TRENT DAWSON to discuss this new role and all it entails.

geneva4.jpg (32599 bytes) Tell me about Geneva?
TRENT DAWSON: It started with Henry's girl Vienna replacing Katie on ‘Oakdale Now.’ So Vienna [Ewa Da Cruz] fills in as co-host with Brad [Austin Peck]. They’re doing tango lessons on the show and he dips her and her breast falls out on live TV. So Henry is extremely enraged and jealous and then he meets up with Vienna later and Vienna has some new groupies, a bunch of shady guys who saw her on TV. That makes Henry even more jealous. So Henry calls up Kim Hughes [Kathryn Hays], the owner of the station, and puts on this voice that he makes up on the spot, sort of this irate somewhat conservative, he says he represents the Illinois Citizens Against Nudity, [laughs], and says I want this jezebel fired. Initially Kim invites Geneva on the show to have this debate and for her to voice her view and Henry turns her down but he keeps running into guys who are after his girl so he decides to do it. Henry always seems to have some women's clothing around that fit him and in this case he did quite a job on her. He goes on the show but then seems to fall in love with the attention that comes with Geneva so it unravels there. Did you have any input on Geneva's look?
TRENT DAWSON: Her look, this has been a pretty big effort. I've done drag before on the show but usually it's like one episode or a few scenes and the people I try to convince are strangers, here I am trying to convince people who actually know me. All the departments really came together. I had some input but I really left it to the professionals. I focused more on what she'd do physically and vocally. Those were the biggest challenges, especially vocally because I had to convince people that it wasn't Henry. What they did physically was extraordinary, wardrobe, make-up and hair were superb. What make-up did was they hired the head prosthetics guy from "Saturday Night Live" which was amazing. I went over and did a full head cast and then from there it was about a three hour process each day to get the look with all the prosthetics all these little pieces of silicon all over my body, my neck, eyebrows, all over my face. It was really quite a process. I was really letting the different departments bring Geneva to life, they are the experts and it really turned out great. This week Katie learns the truth will she be supportive?
TRENT DAWSON: No, she's supportive to the point by not telling anyone else but she's not supportive in the fact of encouraging Henry to continue to do this. They're too good of friends, so when I ask her to keep quiet, she does. Is Henry worried at all about Vienna's reaction when she discovers the truth?
TRENT DAWSON: Well he should be but he isn't because he's an idiot sometimes. Vienna loves doing the show and he says some pretty awful things as Geneva about Vienna on television so Vienna is not really Geneva's biggest fan. Regardless his reasons for doing it, no one wants to hear horrible things about them. What’s the best part of playing Geneva?
TRENT DAWSON: I think it was such a challenge, the artistic challenge. Someone asked if it's fun, and it is, it's just a lot of work. There are so many things going on at once vocally with pitch, dialogue and rhythm that had to change so there were all these things to focus on that I normally don't have to. Plus I had these ginormous breasts that were filled with sand and were quite heavy. I now understand the upper back trouble that large woman have. [Also] the heels and hose and padding--it was very hot, literally, hot to be Geneva. I've played Henry for ten years so it's always nice to get to play someone a little different. Henry seems to be the ‘go-to’ character for reinventing himself.
TRENT DAWSON: I know. I guess I am the only one to say yes? I used to think of Henry as the Harvey Keitel character from Pulp Fiction; Henry solves problems. They need someone as a pilot, oh Henry can do it. Someone needs surveillance, oh Henry will do it. I feel like that's been Henry. It's been a lot of fun but that's what is fun because I literally never know what they are going to throw at me. Then it becomes, can you pull it over and make it believable or is it more comedic. I think they've really established him as a Jack of all Trades. And I love it.

back to articles page