|Barbara Clifford returns in season 7 as Commander Myra Elbrey, Excelsior's chief counselor. Recently, Jonathan Connor-Foertsch had the chance to talk with Barbara about some of her contributions to the show.|
Here are Barbara's answers to his questions:
How did you come to be involved in Hidden Frontier?
We'd like to thank Barbara for taking the time to answer some questions for us, and for being so open with us about her thoughts.
What is the most challenging part of being Elbrey?
I sent in my photo for a Loyola student film and went to the audition. After the scene I asked, “is this Star Trek?” Rob & I talked about Star Trek for a while & I left. The rest is history.
Keeping her real and involved.
You’re the resident costumer, as well as the costume designer. We’ve noticed a very large difference between the stock costumes that Hidden Frontier started with, and the very well done ones that we see now. What was your inspiration to bring the costume to its current level of “evolution”?
Thank you for the compliment on my costuming ability.
I’m not a professional but I enjoy creating and like to make things up as I go. Give me a good photo & I can copy just about anything!
As for the Hidden Frontier, I wanted everyone to look good and when I say everyone I really mean the women! All the stock costumes were either large or extra large. I was swimming in my costume so I found a McCall’s pattern that sort of resembled a Star Trek jumpsuit & I started to experiment with it. Unfortunately, I started out trying to update the costumes, not make them correct. After a few attempts, I finally found a good photo of the jacket & started to replicate that.
As for the light gray trim, that was one of those “happy mistakes.” I saw that the official jackets had this gray trim but I didn’t have the time to make trim so I bought the closest color trim that I could & was shocked to see how very light it showed up on camera. I then felt really bad & worked very hard to get all the jackets outfitted with the same light gray trim. It killed me, to see all the mismatched jackets. But I’m glad the fans like the light gray & it has also become the official difference between all the other versions of ST. Season 7 has all updated jackets. Even the Admiral’s jackets have been “Hidden Frontier’d”.
And since we’re talking about costumes, I’d like to take a moment to explain to the fans about the “Troi” costume. A long time ago, in a universe far, far away……[sorry, wrong film] …..I met a costumer that made beautiful costumes & thought he would be great to work on our costumes. Let’s face it, one person (me) didn’t have the time & energy to make costumes for an entire Starfleet cast. In trying to recruit him, he convinced me that he could make me a wonderful costume. So, I ordered a costume. I had no idea until I showed up for my fitting that he was making me a “Troi” dress. When I mentioned it to him, his reply was that this wasn’t a “Troi” dress but a standard ST outfit and that one had been made for the Doctor on TNG but the actress refused to wear it. So I allowed him to continue with the outfit. Not only were the fans upset, but I was even more upset because he NEVER finished the outfit & it didn’t fit properly. I am currently trying to fix it to 1) fit me and 2) give it a distinct and unique Elbrey look. I hope the fans like the revised outfit, which will debut in episode 701. The “Troi” outfit is history! Also, my apologies to the fans.
Editor's note: I'm sure the fans forgive you, Barbara... *smile*
What has been your biggest costuming challenge to date?
Trying to make costumes that were “one size fits all”. I would get a script & have no idea who would be wearing the required costume. It could be JT (Producer, Lt. Commander Corey Aster) or Dave Dial (Admiral Ian Quincy Knapp). Not exactly the same size guys. Sometimes the first time I would see the actor would be when he showed up for the shoot. I’m glad that Adam (Makeup Assistant, Costuming Assistant, Lieutenant Jorizan Zen/Dao) & JT have taken over the aliens/guests! Thanks again guys.
How do you come up with some of our more exotic costume ideas?
When I was cast, there was very little in the way of costumes and props. I encouraged Rob to buy some “one size fits all” robes and three size 38 jumpsuits (all different colors) for the various villains. This became our basic, catch-all, villain costumes. When Adam & JT joined the production and then the costumes got exotic. Adam and JT are the ones responsible for the guest stars’ wardrobe. Although I made the Tom Corbett costumes & the ST Jackets, kudos should go to Adam & JT for all their hard work tracking down the other exotic costumes.
What was your experience with Star Trek prior to joining the cast of Star Trek: Hidden Frontier?
I was a fan of TOS & TNG. I went to a couple of the conventions, got some autographs, but never wore a costume to the events.
What is your acting experience?
When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, I would put on productions in my backyard for the neighbors. Once I convinced my friends to put on a circus. I was a clown & the lion tamer, my little dog was the lion.
More recently, I’ve done community theater and background. I’ve been in a couple dozen plays and even won an acting award for my performance in the play “After the Dancing in Jerico”. I’ve taken acting, commercial, modeling, singing, dancing, horseback riding (won a first place trophy) and even clown classes. I was an exotic animal handler, specializing in tigers and wolves. But I also worked with and enjoyed cougars, elephants, lions, bears and other animals.
I have experience as a light & sound tech, prop person, set designer and builder. I was the stage manager for productions starring Mel Ferrer (Crossing Jordan), Peter Reckell (Days of Our Lives) at the Zephyr Theater & Jason Leland Adams (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) at the evidence room in Hollywood. I love all aspects of performing.
If there’s anything you could change about Elbrey, what would it be, and why?
I’d like her to have some fun. I’m not good at judging my work but I feel that Elbrey plays one note & that is “ship’s mom”. I’d like her to have more range.
Now that Hidden Frontier’s run is coming to an end, what are your plans for the future?
I’m going to miss everyone like crazy!!! Then, hopefully, have a life that might include some background work and maybe even auditioning. I’ll probably take a hiatus and consider my options. I love performing and I’ll see what opportunities come knocking.
What is your favorite scene that you’ve ever played, either as Elbrey, or any other role?
All scenes with John Whiting. He is such a giving and warm person and great to work with. But I have favorite scenes from all my productions. That’s what keeps them fun.
What is one of your fondest memories of working with the cast and crew?
I just love working with this group. Thank you so much, Rob, for casting me. This has been the best experience. The cast & crew that I’ve worked with on this production have been fun & hardworking. And I hope that we continue to get together after the final wrap.
Any last thoughts you'd like to share with our readers?
Thank you for taking an interest in my character, my costuming skill, and me. I’m honored.
Look for more interviews with the cast featuring your questions in future editions of the newsletter, and in future updates on the site!
Copyright © 2000 - 2008 Hidden Frontier Productions
Website design by Sam Bacsa; Graphics by Jeff Hayes, et al.; Content managed by Michael Hudson.
Star Trek® and all related trademarks are property of Paramout Pictures.
Star Trek®, Star Trek: The Next Generation®, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine®, Star Trek: Voyager®, Star Trek Enterprise®, and all associated marks and characters are registered trademarks of Paramount Pictures. The use of anything related to "Star Trek" on this website is not intended to infringe upon the rights of Paramount Pictures.
Frontier Guard™ is a trademark of Hidden Frontier Productions.