Nancy Lee Grahn: Woman Extraordinaire

Performer of the Week 08/05/02
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Applause, Applause
Outstanding performer for the week of Aug. 5
As Alexis Cassadine, Nancy Lee Grahn portrays a woman who is smart, strong and always in control. But Kristina's death pushed Alexis to the edge, and Grahn gave us a week of jaw-dropping performances that showed her character like we've never seen her: volatile, vicious and veering into madness.
When Alexis found her sister critically wounded at the warehouse, her pain was palpable. Grahn sobbed and clutched her face in horror as her character blamed herself. But at the hospital, Alexis' fury exploded as she turned on Carly and Sonny. Grahn's eyes burned into Carly with hatred as she hissed, "You did this," then smacked her rival.
Grahn shifted gears as Alexis turned gentle, apologizing to Kristina when she regained consciousness. Alexis' relief was short-lived however, as her sister suddenly passed away. Grahn did another 180-degree turn by sobbing violently, falling to the floor in Sonny's arms. Alexis composed herself just long enough to accuse him of murder, her voice low and pointed. But then she cracked: "Why couldn't it ever be you?"
The most powerful scene was Kristina's funeral. Dressed in the color of her fury, Alexis was nervous yet restrained as she delivered her eulogy. But her big moment came as the mourners began to leave.
Alexis turned on each of the "culprits"- Roy, Jason and Sonny - and verbally tore them apart. Though Alexis' behaviour was shockingly inappropriate for a funeral, Grahn kept her from apprearing simply out of control. Alexis' intelligence continued to shine through, even at her most manic. Moments that could have gone over the top or landed with a thud (like when she sang Baa Baa Black Sheep to Jason) resonated completely. As she threw Kristina's ashes at Sonny and schreeched, "Take it!" Alexis made us feel every last ounce of rage and regret.
Grahn teetered on the edge of madness while ripping the character of her enemies, but thanks to her nuanced and complex performance, she never assaissinated her own.  - JG

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