interview voyager Taken from TV Zone #137
Voyager: Countdown to the End

Roxann Dawson: Growing Pains

From Maquis rebel to chief engineer to Deep Space mum, Roxann Dawson talks Torres

Roxann Dawson as B'Elanna Torres

Look out for our forthcoming Voyager special:
TV Zone Special, #41

 

The seventh and final season of Star Trek: Voyager has so far proven to be an exciting one for its chief engineer, Lieutenant B’Elanna Torres. In the show’s season opener, Unimatrix Zero, Part II, she, Captain Janeway and Tuvok had to endure being Borg while trying to prevent the Borg Queen from destroying a safe haven where her people could be free from the Collective. Two episodes later in Drive, she found herself competing with boyfriend Tom Paris in a spaceship rally. To her surprise, Tom proposed marriage before the Delta Flyer crossed the finish line. B’Elanna was still getting used to married life when in Lineage she found out she was pregnant.

Tom Paris & B'Elanna tie the knot in Drive“All this is just the tip of the iceberg for Tom and B’Elanna,” says Roxann Dawson, who plays the half-human, half-Klingon Torres. “There’s still the actual birth of their child to look forward to and all that follows. I feel it was important for them to finally make a commitment. This was also necessary if they [the show’s producers] were going to follow through with the pregnancy storyline. I mean, Tom and B’Elanna had to be married beforehand, otherwise what kind of message would we be sending to our viewing audience?

“I thought Drive was good. Some people complained they didn’t get to see the actual wedding but I don’t think you really needed to. It would’ve taken valuable time away from what actually brought Tom and B’Elanna to the altar. Also, we’ve seen them get married before in another episode [Course: Oblivion] where we witnessed the entire ceremony in all its details. Of course, it was an alternate reality, but it was still the same characters. It would have been unfair for the longtime viewers to have to sit through it all over again.

“As for Lineage, it may just be one of the episodes I’m most proud of,” continues the actress. “I haven’t seen it yet, but I feel this way just from having read the script and worked on it. The story deals with everything from abortion to father’s rights as well as our ever-growing capabilities to genetically alter a baby in the womb. All these issues are so important, timely and identifiable. It’s a poignant, character-driven piece that allows a great deal of growth for my character.”

Did Dawson’s real-life role as a mother affect how B’Elanna reacted in this story? “Absolutely,” she says. “With any character you draw a lot on your own life experiences. That’s part of what acting’s all about. Naturally, my having children very much influenced the way I looked at this episode. However, it was so well-written that it’s something I probably would’ve understood even if I didn’t have a family. The subject matter is something people can identify with.”

Pent-Up Aggressions

Becoming a wife and mother were probably the furthest things from B’Elanna Torres’s mind when she first came aboard the USS Voyager. As a child, it was difficult for her to make friends as she always felt like an outsider because of her mixed heritage. It did not become any easier for B’Elanna as she grew up.

“When we’re first introduced to B’Elanna we see a loner and an angry woman who didn’t trust very many people,” notes Dawson. “In order for Captain Janeway to hand her the position of chief engineer in only the second episode of the series [Parallax] she needed to grow up and fast. B’Elanna had to live up not only to the responsibility she’d been given, but also Chakotay’s [Robert Beltran] faith in her ability do the job. No pressure there!” laughs the actress.

“I think throughout the series B’Elanna has progressed and, then again, not progressed. She’ll take three steps forward and one back, and sometimes it’s the steps back I find to be the most intriguing..."

Steven Eramo

 

Roxann Dawson talks more about B'Elanna's heritage, the best voyages, directing herself and others, becoming an author and what might lie after the voyage... all in this six-page feature in TV Zone #137

 

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