The Tarrytown Diaries of Professor Stokes



Blinkin' Pumpkin

After lunch, Marie Wallace arrived for a Q&A session.  Somebody wanted to know which of her DS characters was her favorite.  "They were all so much fun. I liked Jenny because she was so vulnerable, but I liked Megan Todd too, and Eve."  In response to the question of what her favorite memory away from DS was, she named the day that she’d gotten married.  One fan asked her if she thought that Adam was annoying.  "I didn’t, but my character Eve certainly did. Adam was so bumbling and stupid and she thought she was above him."  Marie went on to talk about how important it is to differentiate between actors and their roles.  "I once read an article by a fan who wrote that he ‘hated Robert Rodan (Adam).  The character’s name was in the parentheses instead of the actor’s, so it sounded as though he hated Robert Rodan, not that he hated Adam.  I advised him to change it—‘hated Adam (Robert Rodan).’"  One man asked Marie if she knew how to speak French because she had once used the language as Eve/Danielle Roget.  "No, I’ve recently learned to speak Italian, but I never cared much for French." She imitated the nasal vowels to demonstrate unintelligible French.

Marie Wallace Takes our Picture

Marie Wallace Takes our Picture

Marie also answered a question pertaining to her photography: whether she preferred black and white film or color.  "In the beginning, I only used black and white film," she answered, "until one time I took a trip to Florida.  I was staying on the beach and I decided to get up early the next morning to photograph the sunrise."  Her first attempt was thwarted by a false alarm. "I woke up when I saw a red light outside my window and raced down to the water with my camera, trying to avoid the various people who were sleeping on the beach.  Then I stopped and looked around. It was pitch black; there was no sun.  I realized that what I’d really seen was the light from a passing ship.  The second day I overslept, but the third day I went down to the beach and took several pictures.  It was a beautiful sunrise, but when I developed the pictures, they looked a little ridiculous because they were in black and white and you couldn’t see anything of the colors." The moral of the story was that B&W was better for capturing form but color was better for image.  Upon request, Marie talked about a particular photo that she had taken of the World Trade Center about six years before Sept. 11.  "It was taken from the ground looking straight up at the building. After I got home and developed the film, I thought it was an interesting picture and I decide to use it in a collage.  It was very abstract, but I had it in a show and it did well. I sold a couple of copies, so I decided to make one for myself.  This time, I used the image of the building to make the shape of a cross and I put it on a blue background.  It looked a little like the sky.  After the terrorist attacks, I went back to look at the photo and it was almost like a tribute to the Trade Center, but I had made it years before."


Dracula Turns into a Bat

Lara’s turn came after Marie’s.  One of the first questions that came up was about her mother’s book for children, Bugs and Other Critters I Have Known, which Lara publishes through her own company.  "When I do readings in public libraries or bookstores, I ask the kids, ‘What’s your favorite bug?’ and there’s usually a poem in the book to go with whatever they choose."  She also stated that she’s looking for a larger company to take over the book because it’s difficult to handle all of the packing and shipping of orders herself.  Somebody else asked Lara about her own book and she shared some of the plot details with us.  The sequel to Angelique’s Descent will focus on Miranda DuVal’s story and the Salem witchcraft trials.  It will also treat David Collins’s coming of age and Barnabas’s desire to become a vampire again.  "I already have the story planned," Lara revealed, "but I haven’t written all of it yet."  Lara was also asked about her experiences as a high school English teacher.  She grimaced as she recalled her difficulties.  "The boys all sit in the back of the room and the girls brush their hair and put on their make-up.  When you stand at the front of the classroom, they just stare at you.  They’re so hostile, and when you give them assignments, they complain: ‘Why do we have to read this?  Why do we have to write about this?  What’s the point?’  It took me months to learn not to shout at them.  When I spoke in a normal voice one day and said, ‘Today, we’re going to read a poem. I hope you enjoy it,’ they were so shocked that I wasn’t yelling.  The only time they ever really paid attention to me was when I lied and said I was at Woodstock.  That’s not to say there were any good students.  I met some really wonderful kids, but it was such a demanding job."  Somebody else asked Lara whether any of the fans had ever done anything terrible to her because they’d confused her with her character Angelique.  "My sons were embarrassed that their mom was a witch on TV.  Whenever their friends came over, they were a little bit afraid of me.  When I picked my sons up from school, I had to wait for them a couple of blocks away because they didn’t want anybody to see me."  She also recalled the crowds of kids who used to swarm around her as she walked from the studio to the subway after work.  "There was a school near the station and I was always passing it just as classes were letting out.  The kids would see me and come running after me.  Now, imagine how dozens of screaming kids must sound when their voices are echoing through a subway tunnel."  Another fan asked Lara to share memories of Thayer David.  "He was a speed-reader.  He could read a book in about 20 minutes.  He was amazingly brilliant, very intelligent, a marvelous character actor.  If you look at his characters on the show, you realize that you’re seeing somebody who could change.  When he was Ben, he was the oaf, and then to be able to turn around and play Professor Stokes and Petofi was just terrific.  He really dug acting, and he was a great friend."