DSTL: Kate Mulgrew by Guest Blogger Vesta Wild

DSTL: Kate Mulgrew by Guest Blogger Vesta Wild

Oct 24

Kate Mulgrew – 100% Pure Captain

“Kate Mulgrew’s going! All five Captains! PLEEEASE!!! KATE MULGREW!!” is pretty much all my husband heard the second I bought that fateful SFX magazine that advertised Destination Star Trek London.

Of course I wanted to meet Patrick Stewart as well, but nothing compared to Kate Mulgrew. For years I had cursed myself for missing her at the various Collectormania conventions in Milton Keynes, and finally I had my opportunity!

It was Sunday 21st October 2012, and I was to witness one of the best talks in Star Trek history (in my opinion of course). Kate Mulgrew was called onto the stage, and the crowd went wild! Within two minutes of starting she had us in stitches with her impressions of the “charming” British people vs. Americans. “Hello Miss Mulgrew, very nice to meet you, charmed, lovely, eternally grateful, thank you, thank you”. Her attempt at the cockney accent rivalled only that of Dick Van Dyke’s in Mary Poppins, when she conversed with a gentleman in the crowd who offered to show her around London. “Madam I’ll show you round, I will, I will” she said as she described the gentle accents compared to the harsher sounds of the UK. After her hilarious introduction she went on to get the audience to start firing questions at her, to which she promised she would answer honestly, and to her credit, she did.

Her inspiration came from her mentor Stella Adler, who when she asked Kate to do a performance for her, told her to stop, asked her where she was from, and when Kate replied “Iowa, Miss Adler”, Stella responded “I’m going to knock that Iowa out of you if it’s the last thing I do”, and she did! She went on to tell us about her book, which she has been writing for some time; “Bookus Interuptus”. Kate informed us she had decided she’s too young to write it just yet, but that it would be about her life, because she found it so remarkable…and rightly so!

One of the beautiful responses to a question, was when a fan asked about the three things Kate believed made Star Trek Voyager or Star Trek in general so inspirational…her response was as follows…

“It’s the union of science with imagination and the understanding of the mythology of human nature…we only have each other, we only have a narrow window of time to work this thing out. On every conceivable level and only Star Trek has managed to touch upon the great themes of transcendence, of decency, of diplomacy, of heroism, of an understanding of loneliness that can only be expressed, as it was, on that spaceship. And I think that the metaphor is not only remarkably astute, but it’s so vulnerable and true, that it captures the entire soul of the imagination of the people. We are on this Earth for one second, and we only have that second to try and accept one another, and embrace one another. And that’s what Star Trek did for me. I think that covers it”

It was a beautifully put and a great question, and reminded me about the ideals that fans of Star Trek are taught to believe in. Kate, to me, embodies these ideals. Almost like Janeway truly believed in Starfleet and its ideals, rules, directives. You almost believed that it was Kathryn Janeway stood in front of you.

There were two points in the talk where I felt emotionally moved, to the point of almost crying. The first was when a fan had asked, about the last episode of Voyager, Endgame, and what that had meant to her. You could hear the emotion in her voice, and as she pointed out herself, the question was difficult for her to answer because of the emotions it stirred. “As the week went on, I was saying goodbye to them one by one as we had our last scenes”. The scene where Admiral Janeway said goodbye to Tuvok on earth, was as if she was saying goodbye to Tim Russ himself, as she didn’t know when she’d next see him. It was seven years of her life; her son had grown up during the show. From my point of view, it was heart breaking to hear her relive the last week of filming. This was a woman, who truly loved her time as the Captain, and without a doubt would snap up the opportunity to get into the role again. The second point was when a fan asked about Jennifer Lien’s exit, and again, you could hear the emotion in Kate’s voice. It had not sat well with Kate the circumstances of how Jennifer had left, that much was evident: “that was hard for me, hard on the company, and hard on the cast, and you know, va va va voom. It was tough, can you imagine it would be tough…I’ve never ever liked that”. It became clear later just who had made the decisions to get rid of Jennifer after a fan had asked. “The producers, you understand why don’t you?…I was not having sex, right? Kes was having sex with Neelix, need I say more. Therefore they needed something to grab the demographic…and then they brought in Seven of Nine…whose costume preceded her.” A fan then went on to ask about how Kate and Jeri had got on, the answer was essentially, they got on for the sake of it. Clearly, Kate had taken the loss of Jennifer to heart, and who could blame her. I found this honesty very heart warming, and Kate felt so much more human to me.

But on with the funny bits! A fan’s dream came true when she told him to “come into the light” out of the shadows, and pulled him up on stage to ask his question. He asked the usual “what was the funniest moment” question, to which she told us, they were ALL funny, “you know how you get when you’re tired…after the 16th 17th hour, your giddy, everything’s wildly funny! For seven years I laughed!” she then dismissed him off the stage after he said his girlfriend had only seen Bill and Patrick. The talk had various other comedy moments. The males amongst us openly showed their dismay when Kate answered a question from a fan regarding which character would she have liked to have seen turn out gay…. “Seven of Nine”. Colin from Trek News and Views asked her about Robert Duncan McNeill and her living next door to him in the trailers. To which she told us that no one had made her laugh more. Robert would constantly try to put her off her scenes by strolling around the set in his robe which would be flapping open… “Disgusting” as she put it. We heard about the various hairstyles, “Voyager should have been a beauty salon!”, and all the faffing they did to make her look right, until she told them enough was enough, and she could try and feel slightly normal.

Time was running out, “we’ve only got five minutes” said mic guy. “I’ll be the judge of that” came Kate’s response. She called out for four people over 50 years of age, two female and two male…up went at least ten people. “Apparently four means forty four in England”. Each of them asked Kate a question, to which she replied honestly. We found out that to keep fit, she didn’t eat, she barely slept, and she walked very fast. Ginger women apparently are great fun to mess with and that next weekend she would be visiting the Philippines to go and stay at a bank president’s house who had invited her over. A hilarious moment came when a lady asked her what her advice would be as she had just turned 50 this year…“To keep living your life to the fullest? My advice to you? Are you crazy? It’s over darling!” Although she did go on to say, her advice was to have a kiss, go out for a drink (“have ten”), travel, and enjoy life, because you’re only on this planet for a second.

Another thoughtful question came from a lady on the stage who asked which two important values people could take away from this. To which Kate told us to be present to our lives, and do it now, and the second was to love one another.

We ended with a bloke question, “what was your favourite technical part?”,” a man” Kate sighed, “I would have to say, that black hole that got us home was pretty good. That nebula that did the coffee was even better”. How many talks had I been to, where guests could actually recount episode details…none! This woman really had a passion for the show, and you could read it in her face and body language that she lived for her fans. It was the most memorable event of my life, and I am over the moon that I met this wonderful person. She told us that she enjoyed putting on the uniform and getting into the captains chair, and I believed every word of it. I’m 100% positive, that if a fan were to approach her to do one of the fan films, such as Star Trek of Gods and Men, she would leap on board just to get into that uniform again.

And I thank her for it!

Vesta Wild

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Michael Clark

Star Trek Fan & family member of @trekmate1701. Official Blogger for Star Trek London. Doctor Who, Warehouse 13, Firefly fan. Also enjoy anything written by Arron Sorkin like The West Wing & The Newsroom. Politics is important to all. Big Spurs fan…

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