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United Feature Syndicate, October 2006

Dawson's contract limits theater work
by Nancy Reichardt
Trent Dawson is daytime's own "Most Happy Fella." He is just one of those glass half-full kind of guys. Dawson spent more than five years on recurring status as Henry on "As The World Turns" in a role that was supposed to last two weeks. For the past year and a half, he has been on contract. He admits there is a difference, but he revels in what each position holds for him. Dawson always contended that he was satisfied with being non-contract because it gave him the freedom to do theater. Now that he has been on contract for a while, has he seen the error of his ways?

"Not at all. Actually, I had a very busy summer, but I only worked three days in September. I do wish if they weren't going to use me, I could go off and do theater. I had an offer in Baltimore, but they said I was going to be too busy. However," he jokingly notes, "I wasn't. That is a drawback, but I have to say, when you are on contract, you are just treated differently. You are in the loop. I just didn't realize it before. Now, I even get paid to go to malls to sign autographs.

"Seriously, it has not changed my life. On recurring, you can go through your savings pretty quickly if you don't work for months. At least this way I know the cats will eat. I haven't changed my lifestyle -- no boat in Miami, no large investments."

Actually, instead of living the high life, Dawson, who hails from Baton Rouge, is about to take his girlfriend and head to Louisiana to do some work for Habitat for Humanity. He has already done Katrina relief for the Red Cross, but he feels he needs to do more for his ravaged home state.

He also admits to being something of a gym rat, but he has been known to fall off the wagon and turn into a coach potato instead. As an example, he says his average Friday night is spent at home with his girlfriend viewing his favorite TV program "Meerkat Manor" (Animal Planet), which he describes as "a documentary that is kind of a soap opera about cats who sit on their hind legs to see better. It's adorable." Indeed, when we look it up on the Internet, Animal Planet describes it as "'All My Children' meets 'Wild Kingdom.'"

On his own soap opera, fans have been clamoring for Henry to get a woman. The actor hoped that Henry was gearing up for a romance with Emily, but he believes that is not going to happen. I think the writers know Henry needs to be in some kind of a relationship, even if he ends up with Emily after a drunken one-night stand. Dawson says when his character was married to Katie he enjoyed being the leading man rather than the comic relief. It has been a long dry spell for Henry.

"Snickers (the rabbit in the storyline) is beginning to look really cute," says a coy Dawson. "Of course, I know nothing with any certainty at all. Typically, I just say what they put on paper. They write. I act. I do not mess with their job, and they give me some good stuff accordingly."

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