Calgary

Fake teeth make speaking Klingon easier: Calgary-born actor dishes on Star Trek role

Clare McConnell got the acting bug from Bishop Carroll drama teacher

David Bell - CBC News

October 05, 2017

Clare McConnell, who grew up in Calgary, plays a Klingon leader in Star Trek: Discovery, the new television series that is a prequel to the original 1960s series. Her character, Dennas, represents the House of D'Ghor on the Klingon High Council. (@frecklegalaxy/Twitter/StarTrek.com)

A Calgary-born actor says the fake teeth that help her transform into her character in the new Star Trek series actually make it easier to speak the Klingon language.

"A lot of the struggle for me came from the prosthetic teeth. I had never used prosthetic teeth before," Clare McConnell told The Homestretch this week. 

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"They actually made it easier. Eventually, when I grew into them, they made the sounds easier and the fans seem to be loving it."

McConnell plays Dennas, who runs one of the Klingon houses in Star Trek: Discovery.

Discovery is a prequel to the original 1960s television series.

"It's 10 years before Spock and Kirk and we are seeing a tumultuous time in space," McConnell explained.

McConnell says she doesn't really see her character fitting the standard good or evil definitions.

"I've been lucky enough to have some brilliant teachers in my time who have taught me there is no such thing as playing a villain," McConnell said.

"Nobody truly wants to be cruel, it all comes from a place of pain or a place of fear. I think it's been really beautifully written, and the other Klingon actors have really brought a human quality to the Klingons that we have never really seen before, apart from Worf."

Klingon based on Cree

The Klingon language, she said, has some interesting connections.

"I learned that it actually came from Cree, which I think is so interesting because we are exploring this disenfranchised race in space, which is analogous to what's unfortunately happened to the Aboriginal people of North America and other places," McConnell explained.

The actor got the acting bug while attending her southwest Calgary high school.

"Through improv mostly. I went to Bishop Carroll and my drama teacher was Pat Doyle, who was very encouraging," she said.

"I started doing improv with the Improv Guild and the Kinkonauts [in Calgary]. That's what I fell in love with, that is mostly still what I do. I work with the Second City here in Toronto."

Her most exciting experience so far was her first day on set.

"I was hanging out in my trailer for a few hours and then got called to set. I hadn't seen Klingons and I walked in and it was just jaw dropping. It is a cathedral," McConnell said of the main set.

"It's one of the most stunning man-made things I have ever seen. Every detail is there."


With files from The Homestretch

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