by Barbara Schoedel
On January 14 and 15th, Armin Shimerman delighted a house full of fans Saturday and about two thirds of that on Sunday at a Creation convention in South Bend, Indiana. He regularly leapt off the stage and ran into the audience to hear a question that he couldn't hear on stage.
Armin comes from a Polish Lakewood, N.J. family. He said he got into drama in high school because there was a blonde girl in it he wanted to meet. Armin has a degree in English from U.C.L.A. When he is not playing Quark, Armin plays tennis and answers fan mail. He said he always played the fool in Shakespeare plays.
He fashions Quark after Frank Kopek, his best friend, who he met while doing a play for seven weeks in Indianapolis fourteen years ago. He proposed to his wife during that time also. Armin's wife, Kitty Swink, played Minister Rozahn in "Sanctuary". She was the "Bajoran bitch", as he called on the set, that told the Skrreean that they couldn't settle on Bajor.
He said the make-up takes two and a half hours. He claims the make-up people keep the glue for it in the refrigerator overnight, but at 4 a.m. cold glue does wake him up. It takes fifty minutes to remove the make-up.
The make-up is a two piece affair that consists of a helmet that can be reused fifteen to twenty times and a nose/cheek piece that has to be created every day. Early Ferengi helmets had no pockets for the actor's ears, which made the helmet very uncomfortable during a long day. Now the helmet is designed better. The teeth are upper and lower sets. Earlier Ferengi make-up just had upper teeth. Armin can eat during the day without harming his make-up, as long as he takes out the teeth. He feels sorry for René Auberjonois, because he can only eat yogurt in his make-up or he breaks the seal between the make-up and his lips. Armin, who has a seven year contract for the show, claims he will stay on DS9 as long as his face can take the make-up. He said his ego is only slightly hurt when he is not recognized in public.
Armin said the veil that some of the Ferengi wear came about because the make-up ended about four inches above the collar, so the wardrobe supervisor used a staple gun to attach a piece of plastic to his head. Armin gave a comic rendition of a staple gun being used on his head.
René just finished directing an episode that has the Grand Nagus, Zek, in it. We heard from Richard Arnold, the Creation host, that René was very patient directing Wallace Shawn, who plays the Nagus, through some difficult scenes. The Nagus was supposed to lean out over the Promenade, which is about three stories high, to shout at someone and Shawn is VERY afraid of heights. René managed to coax him out eventually to get the shot. The day before that Shawn had "lost his lunch" in a shot that had him riding a roulette wheel around. Armin said he did not want to direct a show after watching René "sweating bullets" to do that show. He did comment that the show was similar to "The Emissary".
Armin said the actors can't ad-lib. Colm Meaney and Siddig El Fadil are masters at technobabble, but can't seem to remember regular lines of script.