Days of Our Lives Weekly Preview: Family Members Return for the Holidays — Plus, Ava Gets a Surprising Visitor
Tony and Anna return home for the holidays.
In the Days of Our Lives weekly preview for December 14 – 18, as Christmas approaches, families across Salem reunite or try to, for the holidays. Jennifer continues to remain suspicious that Jack and Kate are still carrying on together, and is unsure she’ll ever be able to trust him again. This week, Jack continues to make small gestures towards Jennifer, including presenting her with a present.
Tony and Anna make their way back to Salem. As Abigail welcomes Anna home, Kristen is thrilled to receive a visit from her brother. Speaking of brothers, look for Tony to meet Jake, the other brother.
More: How Gabi could blow up Jake and Kate’s romance
Gwen has been continuing with her scheme to destroy Abigail’s life by planting doubts in Chad’s head about Abby and Jake’s relationship. She’s also been playing Jennifer and Jack against one another, while Kate became suspicious of the nanny’s real motives. She’s not the only one as Anna seems to be on to Gwen’s games as well, which include getting caught under the mistletoe with Chad.
After Steve and Kayla learned Ava was alive, a deal was struck in which Kayla wouldn’t press charges against Ava for kidnapping her if Ava didn’t stop Joey from being released from prison. Joey was reunited with his parents and is finally home this week. But Ava’s presence in Salem could damper the holidays for this family.
Claire and Charlie have been growing closer over the past few weeks, and he’s got a Christmas surprise for her. She’s not the only one Charlie surprises, as the Titan intern pays a visit to Ava.
Read the Days of Our Lives spoilers to learn who Allie has a frank conversation with. Then get your free daily soap-opera fix for Days of Our Lives — and all of the other daytime dramas — delivered straight to your email inbox by signing up for Soaps.com’s newsletter. Also, be sure to check out our gallery of Ciara’s life before Ben.
Video: Days of Our Lives/YouTube
<p>Taping her first episode as <em>Days of Our Lives</em>’ Ciara, “I was terrified,” Victoria Konefal recalls. “My first moment on air lives in my head rent-free. I roll into the Horton Town Square on my bike, with my hair tucked up under the helmet. I shake it out and say something like, ‘Claire, long time, no see.’ It was just a really fun, awesome moment.” </p>
<p>From the start, Konefal felt a strong connection with on-screen mom Kristian Alfonso (ex-Hope). “She made it a priority to make me feel as comfortable as I possibly could,” Konefal shares. “She quite literally took me under her wing, walked me around the set, took me into her dressing room and broke down the character of Ciara for me in a way that would allow me to bring what I have to the character.”</p>
<p>“People forget that Ciara really did have a life before Ben,” laughs Konefal. There was also a relationship or two, including the one she had with Lucas Adams’ Tripp. “I remember in our first scene, since I was a recast, Lucas said something like, ‘Wow, Ciara’s obviously not the same girl she was when she left.’ And I just lost it after they yelled ‘Cut,’ because it was just so real.” </p>
<p>“She’s my best friend in the entire world,” says Konefal of Olivia Rose Keegan (ex-Claire). “She and I were both babies, and we barely knew each other, but our chemistry was great from the get-go.” </p>
<p>Robert Scott Wilson (Ben) and Konefal bonded instantly… which created a rather unique problem during scenes in which his character was essentially holding her hostage. “A director came up to us,” the actress recalls, “and said, ‘Guys, this is great, but can you dial it back a little bit? You’re not in love yet. You’re playing about six months into the future.’” Oopsie. </p>
<p>Nothing says a character’s going to be sticking around like them getting their very own set. “I’d signed a two-year contract, so I was going to be there a while, but it was very nice when Olivia, Lucas and I were roommates, living in that great apartment,” Konefal says. “When other characters entered the set, it felt like they were visitors because that was our place. I got very familiar with the couch and the contents of the fridge and the little books on the coffee table. And it gave me a great way to stabilize the character and ground her, because Ciara had a home, therefore it gave Victoria, the actress, a home within that set.” </p>
<p>“I love working with Rob because we really do trust each other,” says Konefal. “We’re both unpredictable, and we throw curveballs at each other while we’re acting, so the other person has no choice but to react to it. We never know what’s going to end up happening! Even when we run through the material during rehearsal, we don’t allow ourselves to give it our all, because we like to surprise each other. That’s always fun.” </p>
<p>Soaps tend not to do big, splashy weddings these days, but that was definitely not the case when Ben and Ciara walked down the aisle. “This was just extravagent,” exclaims the bride’s portrayer. “Richard Bloore, the show’s costume designer, outdid himself with the gown.” That said, soap weddings are notoriously laborious shoots, and this one was no exception. “I remember getting home at 8:30 p.m., after having been on set for 12 hours, and having to memorize my lines for the next day. It was demanding, but I’m not complaining. It may have actually been my favorite time on the show, just because I like to think of it this way: When I’m exhausted after a day of shooting, that means I did a hell of a job. I take pride in that.” </p>
<p>Of course, moments after Ciara and Ben exchanged vows, everything went to hell in the proverbial handbasket. But Konefal says “once they brought the pyrotechnics out and we saw how much they were blowing up, that’s when we realized this wedding was one for the record books.” At this point, the leading lady’s workdays became significantly longer than those of her on-screen spouse. “He got to go home,” she laughs of Wilson. “The rest of us had to stay behind and look through the rubble, getting covered in soot and breathing in smoke.”</p>
<p>Thanks to Vincent’s brainwashing techniques, Ben was driven to try and kill his new bride in the same dorm room in which he’d murdered Paige. “Those scenes were intense,” recalls Konefal. “I think what helped me get through those was remembering how much Ciara loved Ben and how much faith she had in him. So right before they yelled ‘Action,’ Rob and I would just hold each other and ground ourselves in each other’s presence. The fear Ben and Ciara felt was coming from a loving place. The only reason they were terrified was because they love each other so much that his actions were confusing. So it was like, ‘Wait, what’s going on? How did we get to this place?'”</p>
<p>Since supposedly losing his beloved, Ben has had several visions of his “late” wife. “I like Dream Ciara a lot,” admits Konefal. “I get to play this eerie side of her. It’s not really Ciara, it’s the version of her that Ben needs at that moment. So when I’m playing her, I just really focus entirely on Rob. I think of her as a prop being summoned by Ben’s unconscious mind, so I get to step out of her shoes and explore what I think he would need for her to be at that moment.” </p>
<p>“I don’t know where Ciara is,” insists Konefal. “That isn’t something we have discussed. And even if we had discussed it, and then I told you, well, I’d have to kill you.” Since that’s not something the actress really wants to do, she instead speaks directly to the fans. “I love you guys,” she says simply. “You are so dedicated and so wonderful and have been the best fans a little actress from Brooklyn could have asked for.”</p>
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