Friday, July 26, 2013

Nana Visitor Turns 56-A Portrait Of Kira Nerys

                             Perhaps it may seem like a cop out to use an actresses birthday as a platform to discuss one character she played. However in this case I'm of the opinion that this particular role was extremely significant for this particular person. Nana Visitor has,and continues to have a very successful and diversified acting career-even marrying her Deep Space Nine co-star Siddig el Fadil and continuing to act while pregnant with their son Django: the event integrated into the story line of the show. From my understanding the character Visitor portrayed,one Kira Nerys was a replacement for Deep Space Nine's intended representative from Bajor (and Star Trek: The Next Generation) Ro Laren. Aware of Michelle Forbes interest in weekly television at that time,Vistor stepped into her part and fom 1993 to 1999 created a character that was,at the very least,very significant and redemptive.

                       As portrayed by Vistor, first Major Kira was a reluctant and rather resentful Banjoran national who was put into position as a liaison to Commander Ben Sisko on Deep Space Nine,ironically a former Cardassian mining station they called Terok Nor. Nerys was very protective of her possition and her people-known for challenging Sisko's authority on virtually every event on the station-even going over his head on several occasions. As local events on the station evolved into a conflict with the Dominion her life came to a strange full circle. Becoming the awkward midwife to Chief O'Brien's son as well as instructing her adopted daughter of sorts (actually the love child of her sworn enemy Dukat) essentially in how to be a terrorist, Kira Nerys' life became alternately conflicted and domestic. 

                  While I have my own personal conflicts over how Deep Space Nine was handled in its later years,it was the character of Kira that helped define and shape was it started out being: the "darker,grittier" Star Trek-with a firm sociopolitical ethic. One superb example is an episode called 'Duet' from the first season of the show, in which Kira not only has to confront that her worst enemy is actually a possible source of redemption for both the Bajorans and Cardassians-only for him to be killed. If the character of Kira had,say been written out in the next episode this would be her shinning moment on the show. Luckily she had the chance to have seven years of them. Developing a meaningful relationship with misunderstood shape shifter Security Chief Odo Kira Nerys embodied Star Trek's evolution in portraying strong female characters. She was volatile,committed,resourceful,confident and actually very vulnerable in the end. So to me Nana Visitor will always be remembered as portraying not only one of Star Trek's strongest female characters but one of it's strongest characters period. And Star Trek has many.


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