Trinneer On Classical Training, Quaker Upbringing and Keating's BacksideBy Michelle
May 23, 2005 - 11:50 PM
After four years of playing Trip Tucker on Star Trek: Enterprise, Connor Trinneer said that he does not yet know what his next role will be, but he stressed the importance of his theatrical training and the Quaker religion in his life and talked about how much he enjoyed his recent vacation with his wife, who is expecting their first child.
Trinneer, who went to Pacific Lutheran University on a football scholarship before becoming interested in acting and going on to receive an M.F.A. from the University of Missouri, expressed by-now-familiar appreciation to fans of Enterprise and apologized for being late to his interview at TheFandom.com, having been held up by an appearance on CNN with Nichelle Nichols. Admitting to interviewer Chase Masterson that he had talked quite enough about the impending end of Enterprise, he spoke at length instead about his theatrical background and other interests.
"I'm still a little ass-backward on my sleep," he admitted, slightly hoarse from previous interviews, saying that he wouldn't have time to recover from his jetlag from a recent trip to Australia and New Zealand before taking off later in the week for London, where he was planning "a whirlwind day" of sightseeing before attending a convention. Of New Zealand, he noted, It's Middle Earth. There's a reason Peter Jackson made those movies there. Unbelievable," talking about doing a 10-mile hike up a volcano with his pregnant wife and realizing that the plumes of smoke they were seeing indicated that the volcano was active.
Trinneer admitted that he was not a Star Trek fan before being cast on the show, saying that he grew up watching the original series "mostly because it was what was on along with Perry Mason when I got home from school." His brother was the science fiction and D&D fan, while Trinneer was more interested in athletics and had no experience whatsoever with performing apart from having been in an arena playing football. "I think the advantage with me was that I had no experience at all with acting or theatre," he said. "I'd seen a couple of plays but I had no preconceived ideas of what it meant to be an actor." At a college party he met a girl who invited him to an audition for Lone Star, "a wonderful piece for somebody that's a complete novice, well-written", and when he read the dialogue, "I felt really comfortable speaking somebody else's words and trying to make them mine." The next day he quit football, and by the time he graduated he knew that he had discovered his calling: "Once I was on the track of becoming an actor, nothing was going to knock me off. I finally found something I wanted to do desperately."
Trinneer said that it was a pleasure meeting other Star Trek actors who were classically trained, such as Casey Biggs (Damar), a Juilliard classmate of Robin Williams. "It's kind of rare in this town to be able to have common ground tin what you can talk about in terms of your job, and to talk about Chekov and Ibsen and Shaw is a rarity with an actor you might be working about in TV or film...I hate to say that but it's true," he confessed, adding that he believes classical training is an asset in a Star Trek actor. "I think that the kind of dialogue that you have to deal with on the show, the people who aren't trained for the most part get weeded out."
Before Star Trek, Trinneer, performed in several guest roles on television and on a soap opera, and now he would like to return to the theatre. "It's been for years since I've been onstage, and I never want to become afraid of being back onstage," he told Masterson. "I've learned how to act in front of the camera but I know how to act onstage." He would like to return to the experience of a seven-week rehearsal process, and said he had spoken with a fellow Trek alumnus, Voyager's Robert Duncan McNeill (Paris), about doing so jointly: "Robbie and I have talked about - not for awhile, because his directing career has rocketed - but we had talked about doing True West, Sam Shepard's play, doing a flip-flop" and switching off playing the lead roles. But as for what roles may soon occupy his time, "I don't know what's next for me. I'm curious myself."
Trinneer explained to Masterson that he was raised Quaker, saying, "It's a whole conversation itself to describe what that is and what that means to me. I describe growing up Quaker, and people are like, 'Dude, why can't I be a Quaker?'" He said that he finds the religion very liberating in that there is no minister or senior authority at a meeting. "You all sort of have a collective hand-holding for five minutes and then you have whatever connection it is to whatever is out there. If you want to call it God, if you want to call it Yahweh, there's no judgment. If you're moved to speak, you stand up and speak from your heart. You're responsible for your own connection, whatever that may be."
Not that being religious has made Trinneer any less irreverent. He explained that he was once compelled to autograph co-star Dominic Keating (Reed)'s backside, calling it his oddest request for a signature. "I wasn't paying any attention at all, and he walks up at a convention last year and drops trou, so I signed it. He's yet to bathe," joked Trinneer.
The original interview is at TheFandom.com. Because Trinneer was late, Masterson spends nearly half an hour talking to others, including TrekUnited founder Tim Brazeal.