LONE WOLF — John de Lancie is accustomed to playing many roles, from acting in TV shows, films and stage productions to directing radio plays and operas. So, it’s not surprising that de Lancie, 61, best known for playing the impish, godlike alien Q in "Star Trek: The Next Generation,” worked in some multitasking when he accepted a teaching position at the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute. For the past two weeks, the performer has been training aspiring actors at the rigorous academy for Oklahoma high school students. The program takes place at Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center near Lone Wolf. "I roll out of bed, go and teach, have a little something to eat for lunch, go and teach and have a little something for dinner, and listen to lectures. So, I’m arts-immersed ... just like the kids,” he said with a laugh during a recent phone interview from Quartz Mountain. Once his students give their final acting performance tonight, de Lancie is heading to Tulsa, where he will appear Saturday and Sunday at Trek Expo 2009. Though he doesn’t do much teaching these days, he accepted the Quartz Mountain job because of the quality of the program. "When you’re teaching young kids, a lot of them just haven’t done this ... and they certainly haven’t done it at a level with somebody like myself who is coming from the point of view of saying, ‘Listen, this is how it’s done, and let me explain to you and show you,’” he said. "There’s no coddling here because we’re putting up a show, and it’s being done very quickly.” His students tonight will perform a spoofy adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s "The Lost World.” "We’re going to give a nod to the notion of a radio show, but there’s also a great deal of movement. ... It is much more a play than it is a radio play,” he said. "It’s a three-ring circus.” De Lancie said his wide-ranging roles not only make him a better teacher, they make up just the kind of career he had in mind when he got into the entertainment business. "I’m no good after about three months at anything; I am ready to move on. So, the notion of seven years on a TV show is just not particularly something that I would be wanting to do,” he said. "My idea of a great year would be a play, a half-dozen readings, a couple of movies, three or four TV shows to pay the bills.” In the 1980s, he made one of the first of his many "Star Trek” convention appearances at Tulsa’s Trek Expo, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. He compares interacting with Trekkies to encountering theater fans who come to the stage door — only "amplify that by 400 or 500 or 2,000 or 3,000.” "The world of ‘Star Trek’ has been really kind to me. And the people that I’ve met there have been great,” he said. "They’re not as weird as sports fans who, when their team loses the game, they go and burn cars and torch the downtown, and when their team wins the game, they also burn cars and torch the downtown.” Becoming so closely identified with a role such as Q has its advantages and disadvantages, but he doesn’t regret playing the "wonderful character.” He thinks actors sometimes just need another breakout part, and de Lancie may have found his: He lately has received rave reviews for his three-episode, guest-starring role as the father of a doomed drug addict daughter in the acclaimed AMC series "Breaking Bad.” "He loves her desperately but he just doesn’t know which way to turn; he’s done everything, tried everything. It’s a role that I understand that a lot of parents out there ... have (sent in) mail about,” he said.
Quartz Mountain Onstage Weekend
→When: Public student performances, 7 tonight and 2:30 p.m. Saturday. →Where: Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center near Lone Wolf. →Information: www.oaiquartz.org.