Roxann Dawson is an actress-director-writer who is best known for playing half-human/half-Klingon engineer B’Elanna Torres on Star Trek: Voyager, which ran from 1995-2001. Since the show ended, she has also made her name as a writer and as a director. I had the pleasure of chatting with her recently about her career and her future plans.
1. Roxann, you are obviously known and loved for playing B’Elanna Torres on Voyager. What would you say is your favorite moment on that show?
-Oh wow! There are quite a few, on and off the screen, mainly off the screen when we played practical jokes on each other . I thought the tumultuous relationship between B’Elanna and Paris had a lot of special moments.
2. Would you be open to playing B’Elanna again or returning to Star Trek again?
-Probably not as an actor, I can’t imagine that over 10 years later(laughs). But I think the franchise itself is important in that it has a unique world view that hasn’t grown old. I would love to return to the franchise.
3. Of the non-B’Elanna roles you’ve played, is there one that is your favorite?
-On stage, I was most proud of playing Diana Morales in the Broadway production A Chorus Line, which was my first acting job out of college. And on TV, B’Elanna.
4. What attracted you to acting?
-Just being born (laughs). There was nobody in my family in the arts but I was directing and acting plays in my living room. It’s a part of me that’s been there ever since I can remember.
5. Are there any actors, actresses or directors you would like to work with?
-There are so many wonderful actors and directors in general. I did have a chance to work with Robert De Niro in Guilty By Suspicion, which was exciting. I just think there are so many up and coming actors. I just enjoy every job I’m in to discover the new talent.
6.You’ve also directed a couple of episodes of Voyager and sat in the director’s chair for other series, including the new series Mercy Street. Is there a specific directorial assignment that stands out for you?
–Mercy Street because I did the pilot. I was able to really mold it and have a strong creative voice in how it came out. That is the closest to my heart because I was able to be part of that from the beginning.
7. In addition, you’ve written plays as well as co-wrote the Tenebrea trilogy of books. Are there any specific authors who have inspired you?
-I can’t say. I’ve gone through so many stages. My favorite non-fiction book is Denial of Death by Ernest Becker, which I’ve reread many times. In terms of fiction, The Unbearable Likeness of Being is one of my favorite books and very inspiring.
8. You also have acted on stage quite a bit. How does that differ from acting on TV or the big screen?
-I guess it would be the ability to recreate something for 8 shows a week in front of a live audience. You don’t have a chance for take 2. So each performance is a unique experience with a unique audience. Actors love theater so much because, there, they have the most control over how the work turns out. It’s the most amazing connection acting in front of a live audience.
9. Do you have a preference between acting, writing or directing?
-I’ll always love acting. I love the art of acting and respect actors to take the discipline seriously. I studied under Uta Hagen and her book Respect for Acting is something all actors should read. Directing is what I like to do now. I’ve always been a bit of a control freak (laughs) and I love working with actors and having an active part in putting something together.
10. What future acting, directing or writing endeavors do you have planned?
-I’m doing a show called Six for the History Channel about Navy Seals. It’s a wonderful show I’ll be doing in March.