Clare McConnell is Toronto based actor performing with The Second City Touring Company and moonlighting as Klingon Leader Dennas on CBS’s Star Trek: Discovery. She was recently cast in a few other exciting TV roles with episodes slated for release this fall. Her first feature film, Dim the Fluorescents, took home the Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Slamdance Film Festival, and she was nominated for Breakout Artist at the 2018 Canadian Comedy Awards. If you’re bored at intermission, find her on Instagram and Twitter @frecklegalaxy or at claremcconnell.com.
When did you first think of yourself as an artist?
When I started to find the tiniest bit of reliability in the quality of my work. One of Sam Jones’ guests put it really well on the Off Camera Podcast. I’m definitely mis-quoting here, but it was something like: “Lots of people can pull off a remarkable performance every once in a while. What makes someone a professional is if they can do something remarkable at 3am next Tuesday in two takes after waiting in a trailer alone for 12 hours.”
Who helped you develop your voice as an artist?
Countless patient teachers and directors who let me fail a whole lot. Rae Ellen Bodie, Pat Doyle and Pippa Domville, to name a few. Acting can be so wanky and embarrassing. It’s important to have people in your corner who have faith in your ability and create a space where falling flat on your face is a win, so long as you get back up and try again.
What’s something that’s inspired you this week?
My Second City TourCo castmates. I love each of them so much. I had a moment yesterday before going onstage where I felt like I leapt forward 40 years and saw myself looking back on these days and smiling. We wear fake moustaches and make jokes with our friends for a living. It’s a big dumb dream come true, and we are all so lucky.
What’s your favourite restaurant in the city to visit?
Udupi Palace in Little India.
What do you want to see more of on Toronto stages?
Gender/physical ability/race blind casting. It’s happening more and more, but I hope it becomes the default approach to mounting classic plays. Also, more accessible comedy venues! The three biggest independent venues are only accessible by stairs, and there are incredible comics who can’t get onstage because of it (shoutout to the hilarious Ophira Calof! Check her work out at https://www.ophira.ca/)