A Night with Patricia Tallman

A couple of weeks ago I went to a talk by Patricia Tallman which was organised by the sci-fi group that I belong to. If her name doesn’t ring a bell, Ms Tallman (I’m not sure if I am allowed to call her Pat) played Lyta Alexander in Babylon 5.

I’m generally not into meeting celebrities. I’m old and cynical enough to realise that actors can be very different to the people they play on the screen. If you told me that a certain character, for example Londo Mollari, was giving a talk I would be there faster than a fast thing being very fast. Ultimately, I just don’t want to break the illusion of the character that I like by meeting the person that plays them.

This wasn’t going to be to much of an issue as Ms Tallman was going to talk about her work as a stunt woman, rather than talking about Babylon 5. Outside of watching The Fall Guy as a child, I know nothing about doing stunts. It was a subject that I was happy to find out more about.

Matters would also not be complicated by the fact that I may have had a crush on Lyta Alexander as a teenager. It certainly had nothing to do with her red hair. Nor the fact that going out with someone who could read my mind sounded pretty good to the shy teenager that I was at the time. I wouldn’t have had to worry about messing up my words.

Any hew, thanks to a well timed meal, I ended up with a prime seat. On the front row, but off a little to the side. I even managed to have a wee cameo during the talk when Ms Tallman pretended to be Stephen Spielberg talking to stunt coordinator. I just sat there nodding like a mad man as Ms Tallman stop a couple of feet away talking directly at me.

I don’t need words to make a fool of myself apparently.

The one tense moment during the evening was during a question about the deaths of so many members of the Babylon 5 cast. Ms Tallman said that she was angry at the question (not at the person who asked it). For your average fan, it is one of the first things that we want to know.

It must be incredibly difficult being constantly asked about friends that have died, especially when you cannot answer the question of why? Stuff happens, is never a good explanation.

I did have a question that I never got around to asking. I didn’t ask it as it was more a question for Lyta Alexander. Sometimes, I do have the ability to stop myself from making a complete fool of myself. It was about the time she was on Mars, Garibaldi told her that she was a good liar and Lyta said that she was going to sue somebody. My question would have been, did you find someone to sue, and did you win anything?

I found that Patricia Tallman was really engaging with the audience, especially when answering our questions. Sometimes, you to an event and during the Q&A you get the impression that the person giving the talk just wants to get it over with. Not with Pat (Can I write Pat?), who punctuated each answer with another tale.

 

The talk itself was enlightening especially to me as someone who didn’t know that much about her work as a stunt woman. The stories she shared were humorous, and a little thought provoking. All in all, it was a great night out.

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