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2013 - 29 years of Santa Barbara

Louise Sorel : «We were creative and it was fun.»

 By Nicolas, exclusively for Santa Barbara : le site Francais, August 2013

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On last August 12, Louise Sorel agreed to take on her time to answer exclusively the questions of Santa Barbara : le site Francais. The actress talks about her years on Santa Barbara as Augusta Lockridge, and of her love for this character.

The beginnings before Santa Barbara

At first, I'd like you to tell us a little about you : how old are you today ? Where do you live ?

My age is my own and I live in New York City.

To know you better, what did you brought from yourself in the character of Augusta Lockridge in Santa Barbara ?

I brought my humor and my sense of the absurd and my passion for unpredictability.

How did you start your career as an actress ?

I started on Broadway in a play called Take Her She's Mine and several other plays that led to guest starring on television and some films.

 

The time of Santa Barbara

How did you start in Santa Barbara ?

I met with the Dobsons, who created the show. They tested some other actresses and then called me to play the part.

How did Augusta was introduced to you at first ?

Augusta was a passionate, difficult but loving woman with an offhanded sense of humor.

With Nicolas Coster as Lionel, you formed one of the most eccentric and unconventional couple in daytime soaps, and maybe on television. What were the reasons of this magic ? Your chemistry all together, the writing, your interpretation of the part ?

Nicolas and I had worked together before and we trusted each other and liked taking chances and loved to laugh. The writing was essential and suited both of us very well.

I read somewhere that the Dobsons wrote for Augusta and Lionel at their image, as if they were themselves. Who you knew them, do you think that's true ?

Yes, the Dobsons did base Lionel and Augusta on their relationship - loosely of course.

Augusta wanted to kill Joe Perkins but slept with him, raised two children, fought with her mother-in-law, became blind for a while, even turned to be Tonell's wife in 1989, and many other things... What were your favorite storylines and the ones you particularly disliked ?

I loved the storyline when I went temporarily blind. The writers created a mad story for Lionel and myself that was based on Cyrano. It was touching and very funny.
I did not like the storyline where I found my sister had been raped and they wrote that Augusta has an affair with the rapist. I raised hell over that.

What were your favorite male and female acting partners as Augusta ?

My favorite partners were Nicolas, Jed Allan, Nancy Grahn and Lane Davies, and Judith McConnell.

You left the show three times, but also came back twice. What were the reasons of your different departures (1986, 1989, 1991) ? What did you think of the end that was reserved for Augusta ?

The first time I left was to go to New York to do another show called One Life to Live.
The second time I quit after one year and then went to Villefranche to study French. (Then) was called back to Santa Barbara.
The next time I left was because a producer came in and lied to me about dropping the whole Lockridge family - they didn't. They made Augusta an alcoholic which I thought was disgusting and I left.

What are your best remembrances from the show, on a relational and on a professional level ?

The cast and the crew were wonderful and hard working. We sometimes worked til 2:00 am and slept in our dressing rooms from exhaustion. But we were creative and it was fun.

 Did you keep in touch with members of the cast or the crew after your departure ? Did you continue to watch the show ?

I kept in touch with Nicolas and Jed Allan.
I did not watch the show when I left I was working on another one and didn't have time - and it was too painful.

 If you hadn't play Augusta, what character would you have liked to play ?

I wouldn't have wanted to play any other role.

 

These 22 last years after Santa Barbara and now

After Santa Barbara, you played for ten years Vivian Alamain in Days of our Lives. We also saw you on Port Charles and Passions. As an actress, what differences do you find between this daytime soap-operas and Santa Barbara ? Augusta and Vivian are of course different, but also have common points. How would you compare them ?

I felt very creative on Santa Barbara because it was full of new people who had been in theater and some who had never done soaps. We had Dame Judith Anderson, a great actress with whom I became very close.
Yes, Augusta and Vivian had some similar qualities. I think Augusta was more complete and interesting. We had more rehearsal and creative control on Santa Barbara.

That's interesting ! Can you give a few examples ?

I meant the actors had a lot to do with how scenes went - not that I had creative control. It was a new show and the producers were not quite sure of how things would work. So we did a lot of improvising and it was a good way to work.

Do you have upcoming projects for this year ?

I hope to do some theater in New York and I write quite a bit.

What are you writing ? Novels ? Poems ? A play ?

J'écris memoirs.

Do you have any idea when it could be done ? And do you already have a publisher in mind ?

No, rien de tout - long process.

Any chance to see you in France soon again ?

I would love to get to Paris this fall or winter - not sure.

Is there something you'd like to say to all the Santa Barbara fans all over the world who didn't forget you as Augusta ?

I am deeply grateful for all the kind and warm responses I have gotten and if they weren't watching and didn't care, we wouldn't have existed.

 

Once again all my thanks to Louise Sorel for her time and her memories of Augusta.