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"The fate of Kate" 
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Palm Beach Post
Sunday, October 26, 2003
by Hap Erstein, Palm Beach Post Theater Writer
 
Tea and Trekkies
A strenuous one-woman show such as Tea at Five is nothing next to filming a series like Star Trek: Voyager.

"It was a complete and utter way of life," says Kate Mulgrew, who played Capt. Kathryn Janeway, the franchise's first female starship commander. "You cannot imagine how changed my life became. Your entire life belongs to the studio and to the series. In the first couple of years, I was putting in 80-hour weeks. And raising two young boys. And I wouldn't wish that on anybody."

Still, Mulgrew looks back on those seven years and considers them "a great privilege," even though she often had to say dialogue that meant nothing to her. "The technobabble was so foreign to me you might as well have given me 30 pages of Japanese," she says. "So rather than learn it by rote, which I will admit to you I had to do initially, I read textbooks and I had to study physics, on a very basic level, of course. I tried to understand what I was saying so that the audience has some clue as to what was going on."

Yes, she agrees, Star Trek fans are fanatical, and Mulgrew wouldn't have it any other way. "I experienced that to an unprecedented and unending extent, and thank god for their allegiance," she says firmly. "Because it didn't stop there. It followed me to Tea at Five. They've come from all over the world. and they've come over and over and over again."

She bristles at the suggestion that most of the Trekkies had their first close encounter with live theater at Tea at Five. "No, I suspect that many of them have been to the theater before. They're pretty smart. They have great respect and loyalty for a character that they have come to love - in this case, Captain Janeway - and they allow me as an actress to transcend that. They're extremely giving.

"Sorry, I have absolutely nothing of a negative nature to say about the fan base."


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