Erin Cardillo (NBC)

Often times soap fans feel like they know the people they see on TV everyday, but as we all know, those people are fictional characters. However, the individuals portraying those characters are real and usually have vastly different lives. Such is the case with Erin Cardillo who has played Esme Vanderheusen since 2005.

On Passions, Erin plays an outrageous, man obsessed, boozehound. In real life, Ms. Cardillo is intelligent, grounded and recently put on a reading of her first play, Mercy Park. I had the opportunity to attend this reading at The Blank Theatre in Los Angeles and later talked with Erin about her work as a writer and as Harmony’s favorite socialite.

When a playwright puts up a reading of their work, it’s just that – the cast acts out the story with script in hand. It’s sort of an early rehearsal with an audience. For Erin, it was a chance to see her work in action and “gauge what needed to be worked on.” Therefore, Erin didn’t cast herself, but several of her close friends and acting classmates who, “were really wonderful and gave it one hundred percent.”

Erin’s play revolves around a young couple, Rose and Avery who come from different worlds, but make a deep connection in Mercy Park, which Avery’s family owns. As Avery becomes terminally ill, Rose at first uses denial as a coping mechanism, but must eventually face losing the love of her life when he gives her instructions regarding what to do with his ashes.

After seeing her words come to life, Erin shared, “I felt really great about it. It was a really great learning experience and I’m looking forward to doing a rewrite of it very soon.” Although it involves serious subject matter, Mercy Park has many lighthearted moments, but Erin mused, “I think I just want to sort of bump up the drama a bit. It has sort of a lyrical quality to it, which I like, but I think I want it to feel a bit more…some of the themes could be a bit more dynamic.”