Par for the Buffy track since its inception two years ago, it was standing room only “In the Principal’s Office,” an hour with Armin Shimerman—the loved/hated Principal Snyder of Sunnydale High School on Buffy: the Vampire Slayer.
After an extensive introduction—necessary in order to touch upon some of his impressive acting and writing credentials, including the Ferengi, Quark, on Star Trek: Deep Space 9—Armin Shimerman entered, quietly but with a respectable amount of fanfare. Upon first impression, Shimerman is a soft-spoken, understated man in a greenish taupe sweater and matching Dockers. But, in the span of twenty seconds, he had the room enchanted and in stitches with his easy wit, charisma, and self-deprecating humor.
“Why don’t you take some pictures now before I get behind the table?” he said, referring to his Ferengi-appropriate height. After posing for a blinding series of flashbulbs and the beehive buzz of dozens of camcorders, Shimerman quipped: “I’m very short and you’re all sitting. So if no one minds . . .” and proceeded to perch on the back of a chair in order to field a lively Q and A session.
Shimerman also treated the audience to a chilling portrayal of Gloucester from Shakespeare’s Henry VI (Act III, Scene II). Hunchbacked limp and all. “That’s what I used to do for a living,” Shimerman said, grinning boyishly, referring to the fact that he was a Shakespeare scholar before he was “seduced by the dark side of the force.”
And how exactly did Principal Snyder manage to last for three whole seasons of Buffy as Joss Whedon originally intended to have revolving door principals—think life span of a target in a shooting range, but with demons. Shimerman (quoting Whedon) “I just forgot to kill you off.” But, eventually, as his predecessor Sunnydale principal displayed: “All principals must get eaten.”
Eaten by a huge mayor-ascended snake demon he was, but it was an excellent three-year run. And besides, as everyone knows in matters of Hollywood blood-sucking creatures of the night, dead doesn’t mean gone.
Don’t miss Armin Shimerman on later at the convention.