The doctors of Hope Zion wouldn’t be able to their jobs without the help of these cast of supporting characters that pass them a scalpel, help bag a patient or hand them an important file. You may not notice them but let us meet one of these unsung heroes of Saving Hope.
Allison Wilson-Forbes plays Nurse Alice, the nurse you see offering assistance in the trauma bay of the ER at Hope Zion.
If you’ve seen the recent Holiday episode, Wilson-Forbes’ character tried to entice Dr. Shahir Hamza (Huse Madhavji) to join the nurses’ Christmas dance party but Shahir turns her down to fix some toys. Nurse Alice was also the one to tell Alex (Erica Durance) that she wasn’t able to intubate the bomber in “Shattered”.
And you may have also seen Nurse Alice in the Season 4 “Rock and a Hard Place” episode interrupting Alex and Charlie’s make out session to hand Charlie (Michael Shanks) a file about Tom Crenshaw (Travis Milne).
Wilson-Forbes first appeared on Saving Hope back in its first season in the episode “Bea, Again” and has since appeared in 13 episodes.
Relatively new to the acting game (5 years to be exact), Wilson-Forbes always had an interest in the craft.
“I’ve always loved acting. I like the magic, something that can touch people in a myriad of ways,” Wilson-Forbes said to Pop Goes the World in a phone interview.
Wilson-Forbes did some plays in high school and discovered that she loved entertaining people and making people laugh. Seeing the joy in people’s faces prompted her to continue acting.
While she didn’t go to theatre school, Wilson-Forbes said that being on the Saving Hope set has been an amazing training ground.
“As a new actor … you cannot get this kind of training anywhere else, you won’t find it coaching, auditioning, in classes. The only way you are going to get this kind of on-set experience is on-set,” she added. “There really isn’t a place where you can focus being on set and learning how to deal with your mark, your lighting, your place, finding the lens, those kinds of things. In the beginning, for the first couple of years, I was a sponge trying to figure out, listen and learn.”
Wilson-Forbes journey to Saving Hope involved six auditions before she finally booked the gig. By season 2, episode 1 Wilson-Forbes nurse character became Nurse Alice.
Of her role on the show, Wilson-Forbes described it as functional and technical to “support the realities of being in a hospital.”
But Wilson-Forbes has seen Nurse Alice move from just passing by or standing around to being a little bit part of the action like standing over a body, bagging a patient or handing over paddles.
Wilson-Forbes is so good at her role there is a recurring joke on set where cast and crew think she is a real nurse like when they believe she knows where the liver is on a patient in a scene.
Of the cast, Wilson-Forbes describes former cast member Daniel Gillies as really fun to work with, “he just makes me laugh” and Madhavji as very funny. On Erica Durance, she is one of the reasons why Wilson-Forbes feels so fortunate for the gig.
“I get to spend a lot of time watching Erica Durance, it is such a privilege. Erica Durance has so much responsibility, carrying the show and also producer duties as well. To see that level of stamina and her work ethic and her attitude; everybody feeds off of that,” she noted.
One of the most challenging episodes Wilson-Forbes had to film was season 4, episode 9’s “Shattered”.
“That episode the whole cast was there. That is not normal. That is a lot of people in one space, the trauma bay. It was challenging because there’s a lot of moving parts, everyone needs to get their lines in, lots of exposition that move the story along. There’s a lot of background [actors] that are laying on gurneys and paramedics moving around. A lot of props [being used] and beds are flying,” she said.
Wilson-Forbes added that Saving Hope is a very technical show to work on when it comes to handling all the medical equipment and ensuring that it all looks realistic and called the prosthetics used on the show as “amazing”.
As for favourite episodes, Wilson-Forbes says three come to mind. The first being the season 2 premiere where someone was brought in on a gurney to the trauma bay and it was an all hands on deck situation. “It was a lot of fun because everyone’s hands were trying to get in on this person.”
While “Shattered” may have been challenging to film, it was also one of her favourites because she got to work with her close friend Charles Officer, who directed the episode.
“[Officer] was someone I’ve known for a really long time, been in the business a really long time and to get to a place where we can work together is special for me. I look up to him, nice to experience that and watch him work and command was awesome,” explained Wilson-Forbes.
Her third favourite episode was the Christmas episode “Shine a Light”. In that episode, Wilson-Forbes had to do her dance like 20 times, which she believes was done on purpose. But it was the dancing that made making the episode fun.
For the scene, the actors had to dance to no music so that the dialogue could be heard. The challenge for Wilson-Forbes was matching the beat in her head to make sure she was engaging with Madhavji but at the same time she called fake dancing funny.
“I’ve already gotten text about the dancing,” she said.
Also, Wilson-Forbes got to wear a really awesome Christmas sweater in the scene, which was not as ugly as the one that Erica Durance sported in the episode.
Wilson-Forbes said that Durance was really excited to wear the sweater and showed off the fact it lit up to her, Wendy Crewson and Madhavji.
Another behind scene story of “Shine a Light” that Wilson-Forbes shared was having to wheel a cart filled with baked goods for the Christmas bake sale into the doctor’s lounge where Dana and Shahir were hiding out. But because the cart was so hard to maneuver, the scene was left on the cutting room floor.
Wilson-Forbes other credits include roles on Space Channel’s Orphan Black, where she also played a trauma nurse. Wilson-Forbes was in the season premiere of season 2 and the second episode playing a nurse that assists Helena (Tatiana Maslany) who has come in all bloodied. Wilson-Forbes calls working with series star Tatiana Maslany as amazing. “She has a lot of physical focus and discipline, she doesn’t break not even between takes. I love that intensity, it sets the tone.”
As for what’s next for Wilson-Forbes, she hopes to do some theatre in 2016 but is mainly concentrating on the screenplay for two projects. One is a psychological thriller about a woman who has seizures calling the script “intense that doesn’t play normally and there is a twist at the end.” The other project is a comedy to see if she can be funny.
And are we going to see Nurse Alice again? Unfortunately, Wilson-Forbes said that Nurse Alice isn’t in the rest of season 4 but hopes to be back if there is a season 5. “It would be a privilege to be back on.”
Saving Hope’s Holiday episode, “Shine a Light” where you can catch Wilson-Forbes, will re-air on CTV on December 19, 2015 at 10pm ET/PT.