Chase Masterson On Learning Her Craft On The Set Of Deep Space Nine, The Ministry of Acting And Her Doctor Who Spinoff

Forbes |Michael VenablesAug 12, 2013

I had the rare chance at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention to interview Chase Masterson, the actor who is well-known for portraying the character Leeta, the Bajoran Dabo girl who works at Quark’s Bar, Grill, Gaming House and Holosuite Arcade, better known as Quark’s to its regular patrons. She shared some very introspective thoughts about learning the ropes on the set of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, what her craft means to her and the awesome creative projects this last year that have been keeping her very busy.

Michael Venables: Tell me the story of your start on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Chase Masterson: I originally met the casting director of Deep Space Nine through a pay-to-meet showcase. They have these things where you can pay thirty dollars and do a mock audition for a casting director. And if they like you, hopefully, they’ll remember you and call you in for an audition. And, that’s exactly what happened. I auditioned first for the role of Marta, who was a guest star in the second season. I got down to the final two of that role, and then they went the other way. And then, they wrote the role of Leeta for me. I didn’t realize that. I didn’t know that until the fifth season. But Ira Behr, the co-executive producer, told me that when I wasn’t right for the first role, they decided they wanted to use me somewhere. So that’s been a huge honor on a show like this to have something created for you. That’s pretty wow!

Venables: Coming in as a fresh cast member, how was the experience of integrating with the rest of the actors already immersed in the show?

Masterson: Armin Shimerman was quite wonderful. He was like an older brother, frankly to Max Grodénchik, who played Rom, and to myself. I had worked quite a lot in the theater and a certain amount in film and TV beforeDeep Space Nine. Armin was much more experienced and would take Max and I aside and explain “Oh, here’s what they’re doing” and “they’re lining up this shot for this reason” and “here’s a tip or two.” It was so comforting and so generous of him. You know, a lot of times actors on shows really don’t want the guest stars to be that good. It’s their show and they don’t want anyone else coming in week to week. And that didn’t happen on Deep Space Nine. The cast was very welcoming and generous. I think that speaks very highly of the producing team who put the show together. And, it certainly fits with the heart of the show. So it was really a blessing.

Venables: Do you think you learned from watching Armin and Avery and the other cast members? How did that influence your craft and enhance your own process?

Masterson: I do. I really loved the daily process at work. Even after a ten or eleven-hour day, I would stay and watch the scenes after mine, because just being there was an education. And, seeing these actors who had done this work for so long, there’s just a certain amount of it that just rubs off on you, so being the new kid on the block was a great thing among this very experienced cast.

Venables: What was your most favorable memory about being onDeep Space Nine?

Masterson: There are so many amazing memories, but I think the most powerful and profound is on the final day of shooting. We were all having lunch together on a sound stage. Usually everyone went to their trailer or the commissary. But that day we all gathered in one place. And even those cast members who were not in the final episode were there, just to be together for one last time. And the co-executive producer, Ira Behr, got up, and he actually climbed half-way up the wall of the scaffold so that everyone could see him. And he told us, with tears in his eyes and his voice, how much it meant to him to be a part of this show. And I tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. We loved working with him and with each other. And for a man like Ira, who was truly the heart and soul of Deep Space Nine, along with Michael Piller, who unfortunately passed away — for a man like that to say such generous and humble things about his experience, it was extremely profound. And we were all so grateful beyond words. We knew what we had when we had it. Deep Space Nine was a bit of a Camelot, because a show like that, in that way, taking those risks, can never happen again. It was a groundbreaking show to be a part of, because it was serialized drama on television which had never really happened to that extent. And because Ira and his team took that risk, we knew we were creating something – unique. Continue reading “Chase Masterson On Learning Her Craft On The Set Of Deep Space Nine, The Ministry of Acting And Her Doctor Who Spinoff”