Prodigy On-Line Interview with Charles Keating

(24 May 1996)

Moderator (Speaker) - Actor Charles Keating was triumphant last Wednesday evening at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The talented performer walked away with the BEST ACTOR Emmy for his portrayal of the devious Carl Hutchins on NBC's ANOTHER WORLD. This afternoon, Mr Keating joins us by phone from his home outside of New York City. OK, folks... Here he is. Please welcome, CHARLES KEATING!!!!

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Hello, it's great to be here! I'll keep my language as succinct and clean as possible!

Moderator (Speaker) - Great to have you here, Mr. Keating...
Congratulations on Wednesday night. Let's get to the questions!

Kramer 23 (PRODIGY Member) - Hi Charles, Congratulations on winning the Emmy Wednesday night! I was wondering what the last 48 hours have been like for you? Can you give us the juicy details?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Juicy details! Well I was out in the garden moving rocks on the day of the Emmys. I was just playing in the dirt. I had a very early rise the next morning, at 6am, at the hotel in New York City. I was to meet Victoria Wyndham, my leading lady Rachel, to go to Hartford to do an interview with the NBC affiliate, to promote a benefit performance of "Couplets" for the Sharon Playhouse in Connecticut on Saturday night...

So it's been wonderfully ordinary! With the sole exception of lots of phone calls from people I haven't heard from in quite a while. And thanks for your good wishes.

Mary in Ohio (PRODIGY Member) - Congratulations on your win Charles.
Do you think the Emmy will have any affect on you or your Carl Hutchins character on 'AW'?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - The Emmy will have no effect on me, from the standpoint that you've still got to wash your bowl after breakfast. And I imagine the same must be true for the character of Carl. I would love to think that because of the Emmy, the powers that be might be a little bit more inclined to use the character in a more fulsome way.

Bishop Taruk (PRODIGY Member) - Do you enjoy television as much as theatre? Can you compare the two at all--or is the work totally different?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Well, essentially, it's the same.
Experientially, it's radically different. In the theatre, the actor is given immediate feedback. In film and television we are oftentimes so pampered that the truths are withheld. And of course, the feedback can only come from the handful of people there on the set, rather than a theatreful of people, focused on a moment in time.

Moderator (Speaker) - Charles Keating trained at the Guthrie Theater and as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, he has performed some of the theater's great roles in playhouses throughout the world...

Bishop Taruk (PRODIGY Member) - Have you done any directing? Is that as demanding as one would expect? Does your acting make you a better director? Does being a director make you a better actor?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Absolutely, right on the money for both questions. It does make you a better director and a better actor. I've done some directing, the most recent work was an off-Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet done for the Riverside Shakespeare Company. Ultimately, I would like to add that there are many misconceptions about the director...

Indeed, the actor's lot is a much harder one than that of the director's, from one simple standpoint: The actor has to play the eight shows a week. The director, meanwhile, has pissed off to the Mediterranean or Majorca, or the Caribbean (I'm speaking of course about theatre directors), and this becomes particularly painful if you've been stuck with a highly conceptualized piece of work, forced over a great classic, and it doesn't work!!

You sit there, thinking about the director sunning himself in the Caribbean, and you think, "You little prick."

I believe the director's primary role is to create an atmosphere where his company can be created. Where there is no such thing as being foolish, and where ego does not rule the day, rather humility to the text, which everybody must serve.

Moderator (Speaker) - Well said, especially the part about sunning oneself in the Caribbean ...

Technodon (PRODIGY Member) - Congratulations on you success Mr.
Keating. I was wondering if you could tell us what Carl Hutchins will be up to in the next few weeks or months?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Do you know, I have no idea. I'm not being coy or evasive. There have been lots of story meetings evidently of late. My contract is up in July. We've just got a new headwriter. And so I think that question I myself need answers to!

TheMango (PRODIGY Member) - Hi Charles  Congratulations on your Emmy!
I was whooping and hollering on my sofa!  Was it as good for you as it was for me?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - (laughing) I'm delighted it gave you that much pleasure! Thank you for your generous spirit, and all those good thoughts. I did have a giggle, I confess!

Kramer 23 (PRODIGY Member) - What did you take away from Wednesday night? Was there one aspect of the evening that meant more to you than anything else?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Yes, absolutely. Free, open-hearted affection and generosity of spirit. Whether it was the fans on the street, or my work-mates in the auditorium. And that will be the memory that will last longest.

whuzup fool (PRODIGY Member) - how old are you?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Am I 53 or 54? I think I'm 54. I was born in 1941. So this year I'll be 55.

Kramer 23 (PRODIGY Member) - With you winning this year (in your fourth attempt), can Susan Lucci be far behind? Seriously, don't you think it's about time she won? It was great that she got such a great response from the crowd at Radio City.

Charles Keating (Speaker) - I agree. I think she should have won years ago. I don't understand it. The whole process itself mystifies me.
Ironically, Susan Lucci has become bigger than the Emmys! I like her a lot. I terrorized her for a while, for four or five months on "All My Children," playing a character called Dr. Damon Lazarre. You could see him coming as soon as you saw his name!

Technodon (PRODIGY Member) - Did I read here that you were in the movie "Awakenings"?  Did you get a chance to work with De Niro or Robin Williams? Do you have to act differently for a feature film than for "AW" or is acting the same no matter the circumstances?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Yes, I enjoyed  "Awakenings" enormously because I'm so enamored of Oliver Saks and his work. I indeed had only one scene, one speech, one little speech, but it was with Robin Williams. I was a lunatic in an asylum, yelling at him. I had a scene where I advanced on him somewhat menacingly, a very clever scene choreographed by Penny Marshall, where I was advancing on him, telling him in a paragraph my life's history.

Robin Williams, by the way, is the most consummately skilled actor, and one of the funniest people I've ever encountered. He's one of those rare individuals where you just love him immediately. But the stint in Awakenings was very brief, we knocked it off in a couple of days.

Regarding the differences between playing in various mediums, television and theatre, one's job is to tell the story. So whatever that may demand. I had an experience the other night when I accepted the award, where suddenly, I wasn't playing for television or the microphone -- but rather for the three balconies, and the 6,000 people in front of me. And it was, in a way, an acceptance speech to those people in that hall, rather than to the viewer at home.

Bishop Taruk (PRODIGY Member) - Was Wednesday night the best night of your career so far? If not, can you tell us what was?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - I have no "best" nights. And therefore, I have no "worst"  nights. It's a see-saw I don't really enjoy. And I tend to, you know, get the most of out of whatever the experience is.
But it was certainly a great pleasure.

Moderator (Speaker) - Kevin Mambo, who also won Wednesday night (BEST YOUNG ACTOR), visited with us last Friday. You can check out what the GUIDING LIGHT star had to say by JUMPING: chat transcripts...

TheMango (PRODIGY Member) - Are the rumors true that you have publicly stated that you/Carl's character  do not wish to become the devil incarnate?  A pernicious you know what? 

Charles Keating (Speaker) - I don't think it possible to ever go backwards. By all means, explore the character's darkest aspects, let him be a perfect shit to some individuals, and inasmuch as he has discovered compassion and love in his life, and we've witnessed and experienced this, he must still be allowed to exhibit these characteristics. Otherwise he becomes a cartoon.

I for instance have begged them and more than begged, insisted (not that actors can do a whole lot of insisting!) not to give me guns.
Because I believe it to be the shoddiest, cheapest, most derivative and socially irresponsible form of storytelling that is stuffed down our throats, whether it's in the newspapers or the entertainment that we're served relentlessly. And it pisses me off.


Charles Keating (Speaker) - Okay. Yes. I was 18. I was a lady's hairstylist, having been kicked out of school at 16. And I was working in the first week of my first job, doing a shampoo and set, and the woman said to me "Charles, have you ever been in a play? " And I said no. And she said,"Well, there auditioning for one tonight in Niagara Falls. Do you know 'Tiger at the Gates'", she asked,"by Jean Girardeau?" I of course thought she was speaking Greek, but over I went and auditioned at the"Y" in Niagara Falls.

SoWetSoHot (PRODIGY Member) - Afternoon Charles You really are a first class actor! Do you have time for use of a computer in your personal life?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Thanks SoWetSoHot -- I'm all ears!
Computers rather frighten me, because I never did learn to type, so the whole thing seems extraordinarily complicated to me. And truth to tell, that there are so few hours in any day that I have to myself, I would only find it frustrating.

HFS RULES (PRODIGY Member) - Charles, Hi!....I am 12 years old and my mom loves your show. She has been watching for as long as I can remember. Anyways, my mom wanted me to ask you if Vicki was coming back to the show?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Jensen Buchanan, who plays Vicki, and by the way, thank you and your mother for the question, will indeed be coming back any day now soon.

FieryDew (PRODIGY Member) - Ciad m`ile f`ailte, Charles.  Warmest congratulations on the richly deserved Emmy!  You're greatly missed on AW these days.  Surely JFP knows what a treasure she has .  Will Carl's story be picking up soon?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Thank you very much for your observation.
A few notes to NBC wouldn't hurt. I can only trust that they have great plans for me, inasmuch as they've said they want me to stay, and I'm rather expensive to keep on the sidelines. Plus, when I'm on the sidelines, I become somewhat more unpredictable.

Direct Hit (PRODIGY Member) - How did you like working with Carol Burnett when you did the"Fresno" mini-series? Did she goof around a lot?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - I found her a joy. I've been very, very lucky with the leading ladies I've worked with, and have none of those wonderful actors' stories about this one or that one. She struck me as having me that rare quality, and it is very rare, of being a natural clown.

Moderator (Speaker) - In case you're just joining us, our guest is actor Charles Keating (Carl Hutchins on Another World)... Mr Keating is answering as many of your questions as quickly as he can... Thanks for being with us today!
WLDATHEART (PRODIGY Member) - What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of your career?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - I suppose just getting to a point where you might be able to do it well. For instance, I don't watch myself...
I don't watch the show. Not out of a lack of interest. But it becomes a painful experience, because all you do is give yourself notes, or think of the hundred other choices you could and should have made.

Direct Hit (PRODIGY Member) - What does it feel like when you receive a thunderous ovation on Broadway?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - I'll tell you what's much better... Now, the sound of applause is a sweet sound indeed. But the sound of rolling laughter frees the soul somehow. It's as close I think we get to flying. And there's one other aspect that can happen that is greater and sweeter than the sound of applause. That other sound is silence. When, in a beautifully orchestrated piece of theatre, the silence of a pause can almost stretch time. I'm thinking now of the serious plays of Shakespeare.

Direct Hit (PRODIGY Member) - How do you stay looking so sexy and virile?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Well I don't know that I look either of those things. That's not my image of myself. Yes, I think if were capable of blushing, I'd probably blush. I don't know the answer to that question. Thank you very much for thinking it -- whatever that means!

You know, working as an actor, I'm always working within my own imagination. So that we could serve an audience's imagination. So if somebody thinks you're sexy or virile, that's all well and good, but there's somebody else who thinks that you're puce and ratty!

Direct Hit (PRODIGY Member) - Do you have any children? What do they do?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - I do indeed. I have two delightful sons, who I love dearly. They're 30 and 31 years old, and we're all still very connected. In fact, the elder one, Sean, and his wife, Ivy, just a few weeks ago presented us with our first grandchild.

WLDATHEART (PRODIGY Member) - Who were your role models as a child?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Well, Jesus, I cannot... There are of course those luminous characters that you're introduced to, presented to us in history and in scripture, and by well-meaning old aunts.
Yes... Yes (laughing)... My wife just chipped in"Roy Rogers!" Yes, because there one point in my young life where I wanted to leave home and go live with Roy Rogers!

And you know, as a child in bombed-out London, I was probably showing quite brilliant analytical skills. Who the hell wouldn't want to be with Roy Rogers?!! I was in bomb-strewn London! But I rather like the Irish adage, which I think I discovered all by myself as a child, that children should look up to their parents and their teachers, and their leaders -- not as an example, but as a warning!

Moderator (Speaker) - Here's a comment for our guest...

KATT 17 (PRODIGY Member) - I would just like to say congratulations on your Emmy. I was rooting for you to win.

AWorldFan (PRODIGY Member) - Congratulations on your Emmy win it was well deserved!

WLDATHEART (PRODIGY Member) - Congratulations.

HFS RULES (PRODIGY Member) - congratulations

HFS RULES (PRODIGY Member) - oh yeah....cut the ponytail off

Moderator (Speaker) - OK... Back to the questions...

SubZero234 (PRODIGY Member) - Charles where were you born?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - I was born in Middlesex, England, which is really London. And I spent my first 15 years in London as a boy, with summers in Ireland. My people were from Ireland. So I am a thoroughly qualified mongrel! 

Cherrry Lace (PRODIGY Member) - Hi, Charles.....Your portrayal of Carl is magnificent and were it not for you and him....I doubt I'd still be watching Another World.  Are you going to do anything besides AW anytime soon?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Thank you very much for your generous words. I have in fact been sent a play, which I'm very excited about.
The deal isn't set and none of the details have been inked in, but it's a fabulous play called"Everybody Smile." And if everything works out there will be a production off-Broadway this fall or winter. I can't really say too much more about it.

I was supposed to go in for an interview today, to meet the director and producer of "Kull the Conqueror"a triceps and biceps movie, to be shot in Slovakia. But I took a look at the script and I passed. I won't tell you what I passed!  But it was not a pretty sight! 

Ritney (PRODIGY Member) - I have been a fan of AW for ten years. I have seen you be both a bad guy and now a good guy. Which do you prefer to play?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - That's funny.. I never think of him as bad or good. I absolutely love being caustic, rude, offensive... It reminds me of Joan Littlewoods wonderful adage:"Don't talk to me about art, love... I'm f*cking vulgar!" So as well as the suaveness and the charm, it needs somehow to be underlined with vulgarity. I really rather enjoy flip-flopping backwards and forwards, depending on who you're playing with. That is, what actor you're working with, not the character.

Moderator (Speaker) - In case you missed part of today's chat, you can check it out early next week in its entirety. JUMP: chat transcripts.
Tell your friends who are fans of ANOTHER WORLD...

AWorldFan (PRODIGY Member) - When is the couplets CD going to become available and where can it be purchased?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Oh, please God let it be ready soon! I have every hope that it will be out this summer. And there has been some talk with Shannachie Records, but that is in the rudimentary stages. The recording itself is very exciting to me. My son and I have worked quite closely on the music, and it was very important to us to try and create not what we did in the theatre, ie: a theatrical experience, but rather an aural experience.

And inasmuch as we had to boil the show down from 90 minutes to CD length, we had to rethink the work. But all the best bits are still there. So please be patient a little longer, and thank you for your interest.

AWorldFan (PRODIGY Member) - Have you ever had a chance to read any of the comments re AW on on-line BB's?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Only occasionally have I read them. I long for someone in my household to master such things. And should I be looking at it? What am I missing??

Lindsey 3 (PRODIGY Member) - Are you of English origin, or is your accent part of your role

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Jesus Christ, I don't know what my origin is! My origin is Irish. But the accent is legitimate, rather than an affectation... those I can be as affected as the best of them! (he says, demonstrating an impressive upper-class twittery!)

Cherrry Lace (PRODIGY Member) - Charles, you write, too, I had no idea....has any of it been published?  Is it available currently?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Well I don't write, I attempt to scribble here and there. And no, nothing ever so grand as being published. No, I'm not a writer. In some ways, I've wished I were a writer. But then on second thought, the very isolation that must be endured by the truly creative people, ie: people who create something where nothing existed before, the isolation of the painter or the writer or composer, though appealing, seems almost the antithesis of what I seem able to do...which is perform.

Lindsey 3 (PRODIGY Member) - Do you like working with "Rachel Hutchins?"

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Yes, I love working with her. Well I'm actually married to her. I'm working with Victoria Wyndham. 

collieo (PRODIGY Member) - what kind of car do you drive?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - I drive a four-runner. Because I get a lot of snow here in Connecticut, and when I leave for work at 4 a.m. for the country known as Brooklyn, which, from my dressing room window on some days looks remarkably like Kiev. With some interesting people wearing some extraordinary costumes, from the Far East, the Near East, and the Middle East. It's a country unto itself, Brooklyn.

Petr Nedved (PRODIGY Member) - How did you get your cool job?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - There's nothing cool about my job. And, like everybody knows, I pay them. Nobody tells the truth, though, those of us in television. We pay them a lot of money. There's nothing cool about it. (It's hot, baby, it's hot!)

Cherrry Lace (PRODIGY Member) - By the way, Charles, congratulations on the EMMY....those who voted for you have impeccable taste.

Charles Keating (Speaker) - It's very kind and generous of you to say so.

weiler92 (PRODIGY Member) - Charles, why didn't you let us know that you would be in Hartford yesterday? We would have interviewed you on the #1 TV station in the market!

Charles Keating (Speaker) - I wish we had gone there. We did the news program, which was something that was already set up. And after only 2 hours of sleep in New York, and getting up at 6 a.m. to get my little tucus up there, I very well could have spent the day up there. Next time perhaps we will.

Moderator (Speaker) - I believe, Mr Keating, that you are our very first guest to use the word TUCUS in one of our chat interviews...
Thanks !!!

Stormeee'96 (PRODIGY Member) - Congratulations!!!!!!!!  I Love your there anything you would change about him?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - I'd put him on television more!


Charles Keating (Speaker) - It's NBC, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Att: Charles Keating, c/o Another World.

v00d00doLL (PRODIGY Member) - hello Mr Keating !! =)  Congratulations on the Emmy!!  I loved the New York scenes with Carl and Rachel at Christmas time..are there any plans for any more of the same?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - I would to God there were. For I believe in the happy accident and combination of Rachel, Carl, and poetry seems to me to be a gold seam that should continually be explored between these two characters. Not enough to bore the audience, God forbid, but it did seem to be unfortunately short-lived.

We actually had a producer in at that time, who came up with a memorable phrase, "Well people don't talk like that!" Well she wasn't too bright. Of course, people don't talk like that, silly old cow! But she wasn't too bright. She was from outer Muldovia or some place like that.

This producer, long since gone, failed to recognize a deep and hungry need, for some audience members, for rich and heightened language, lyrical language. We get sick of the grunts of everyday, naturalistic conversation. If something is to be said, why should it not be said well?

Moderator (Speaker) - Any guitar fans here... Join us at 10PM ET Tuesday night when our guest will be the legendary Chet Atkins....

Moderator (Speaker) - Don't forget, to get today's event in its entirety, JUMP: chat transcripts. Today's session will be online early next week.

SHROONIN (PRODIGY Member) - Do you see yourself getting away from daytime television and more into movie films with bigger roles??

Charles Keating (Speaker) - The moment somebody asks me. However, I hasten to add that I said to the people at Another World years ago, I would be delighted to be committed to this show, this character, for life -- with the knowledge that I can come and go, and do other work.
That to me would be, as young master Hamlet says,"A consummation devoutly to be wished."

AnnOnimus (PRODIGY Member) - Question: Is that the kind of language you should be using in an open forum?  re: "prick"

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Some people make judgments on language. It has never made sense to me, even as a boy, that in language--which is after all, articulated sounds--we label some words as"bad"and some words as"good."  It's an example of what I said in an earlier response, where I said that children should look up to their elders not as an example, but as a warning.

Shakespeare himself, in one of his sonnets, indeed uses the word "prick"and "prict" with common acknowledgment of its meaning. So let's not be quite so sensitive -- not when we've got the gun laws that we have.

SHROONIN (PRODIGY Member) - Charles,  who would you say has helped you
the most to get you where you are today?

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Well there's no individual. And I don't where I am today! 

Moderator (Speaker) - Our thanks to Charles Keating for sharing some time with us this afternoon (on what I'm sure has been a very hectic week). Continued success to you, sir. And please come back anytime!

Moderator (Speaker) - And thanks to all of the members for their questions!

Charles Keating (Speaker) - Well this seems to be a lot of fun! I'd like to do it again, and perhaps eventually I'll learn to get good at this, to become concise and economical! Many, many thanks for all those silent and sometimes vocal good wishes.

Moderator (Speaker) - Thanks again, Charles!

Moderator (Speaker) - Have a great holiday weekend everybody. See you next time. ...And good afternoon from New York.