CTV.ca’s Sheri Block gets the ultimate ‘Listener’ experience by playing a nurse on the show
Touring “The Listener” set and chatting with cast members makes for a pretty good day at work, but doing all of that and playing a nurse alongside Craig Olejnik on the hit dramatic series makes for one really incredible day.
After arriving at the Mississauga set, I am shown around St. Luke’s Hospital and the offices of the Integrated Investigative Bureau (IIB), which look incredibly realistic. I also get the chance to watch Craig Olejnik, who plays telepath Toby Logan, film a scene with Lauren Lee Smith, who plays Sgt. Michelle McCluskey.
A few moments later Olejnik steps away from the camera and asks how my day is going. He then says, “We should get you some scrubs and you should be on the show.”
“That would be awesome,” I say with a laugh, thinking he is joking.
“Ok, great,” he replies. “I’ll let the director know.”
I find out I will be playing a nurse, who will need to stabilize a patient after he starts having a seizure in Episode 304, titled “The Taking,” which airs Wednesday, June 20 at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.
I am hurried up to wardrobe where the stylist picks out some bright green scrubs for me and matching Crocs.
I am then introduced to the makeup artist, who takes one look at me and says, “You’re good. You’re already wearing more makeup than a nurse would.” Ha! But she does apply some powder and I am able to negotiate a little bit more lip gloss.
I wait patiently on the sidelines and after what seems like an eternity (maybe because I’m so excited), it’s time for my big scene.
After Toby and Michelle enter the room to question the patient, I wait for my cue. When the patient starts seizing, Dr. Olivia Fawcett (Mylène Dinh-Robic) and Toby hold him down, and I run in and take over while another extra puts an oxygen mask on him.
As an extra, you’re not allowed to talk during the scene, however, I break that cardinal rule during the first take.
I get so into the scene that when I reach the patient I look at Toby and say, “Don’t worry. I’ve got it.”
“You’ve got it?” he replies.
“Yes,” I answer, as I pretend to hold the seizing patient down. (It later occurred to me I might have ruined the entire scene, but luckily that wasn’t the case).
We do take after take so the scene can be filmed from a variety of angles and each time I try to do better than the scene before, hoping that maybe the director, Paul Fox, will see my acting talents and ask me to join the show as a regular.
Now, that doesn’t happen but he does say I did a great job. So does Olejnik.
It is an exhilarating feeling and I can’t wait to see myself in the episode.
Months later, I watch an advance screener before the episode airs and wait nervously for my big scene . . . which ends up being a three-second appearance, where you can only see the back of my head.
With all the work I put into embodying my character (and applying extra lip gloss), I can’t help but be a little disappointed.
But Olejnik and Ennis Esmer (Oz), have some encouraging words to put things into perspective.
“That’s how it starts,” Olejnik says to try and make me feel better. “You got your head in the door.”
“I feel like maybe they were resentful of your star power and they tried to cut you out,” says Esmer. “There’s a lot of undercutting in this business.”
“I might have had something to do with that,” jokes Olejnik.
But even though my appearance on the show was brief, I definitely got the ultimate “Listener” experience and if Toby read my mind he would’ve found out I had the best day ever.
“The Listener” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV. Full episodes are also available online at CTV.ca.
About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!