Soap Opera Weekly- Applause, Applause

Brad Maule and Sarah Brown- Outstanding Performers for the Week of Dec. 8, 1997

By Freeman Gunter

The beginning of love- radiant, hopeful, so beautiful- is well-known. It has been extensively documented in daytime. But the precise moment at which love has definitively gone- that sad and ugly spectacle of recrimination and indifference- has never been laid bare before us with quite the honesty, raw pain, and horror that marked the General Hospital episode in which Tony and Carly called it a day.

The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference, that Bermuda Triangle of emotion into which all intentions, good and bad, vanish without a trace. When Carly asked, "Why?" all Tony could say was, "'Cause I've lost interest..." Given the consummate mastery of Brad Maule's performance, that's all he needed to say. He didn't, in fact, have to use words at all; his eyes said everything. They were cold, dead, yet looking for an escape. It was clear in Maule's face that Tony wished to be almost anywhere else but in that room with Carly. His heart, mind, and soul had already left the building. He wanted only to be free of this troublesome tramp. When she misread his indifference as anger, and tried once again to blame others for turning him against her, he said, "You have a lot of enemies, don't you, Carly?" His uninterested tone was the voice of one who no longer has the stomach for these games. Even his pain was blunted by endless repetition. Tony was emotionally exhausted, and Maule revealed every nuance with a masterstroke that spoke not of acting but rather of living the drama from the inside.

As Carly, Sarah Brown gave a performance that was the payoff, thus far, of her entire time on GH. Carly used all of her standard defenses, and they no longer worked. Brown's emotional honesty was shatteringly effective. As the truth dawned on Carly, gradually and in layers of lies peeled away, she went from prevarication to panic. Cornered, she became vindictive and cruel, but even as she sought to hurt Tony, Brown manifested the total control of superb actress. Never once did her performance become shrill, never did the recrimination turn into mere childish taunting, even when she announced calmly that the baby isn't Tony's. All that showed was the pain. When, at last, Tony asked whose it is, she delivered yet another lie calmly, with dart-to-the-heart precision. "Jason's," she said flatly.

Brown's ability to play this character's badness and manipulation full-out while always maintaining her vulnerability, her core of humanity, marks hers as a talent equal to any on daytime. She is a soap opera actress to the grand manner born, a woman for all seasons, and it is a privilege to watch her work.

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