Diane Lane on Returning to Theater in ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’, Dealing with Audiences and Craving Rehearsal

Not all Academy Award-nominated actors would head back to the theater after obtaining great success in film.  But Diane Lane was ready for something different—in the form of a Chicago production of Sweet Bird of Youth at the Goodman Theatre.

“I think that timing is everything in terms of the readiness for taking on a new challenge,” Lane told USA Today.  “A show this large and a role this demanding, certainly I’ve made jokes about it being mid-life crisis martyrdom or empty-nest freak out.  It’s sort of now or never.”

The actress said that returning to the theater was “sort of like a bicycle.”  The Tennessee Williams play offers its own obstacles.  “We had a crazy lady yelling in the theater the other night,” Lane said.  “Then we have the phones going off or somebody in the front row is warm so they’re fanning themselves.  It’s definitely got a lot of hurdles to it.  To have a normal show is a gift.  It’s a team experience, and so, thank God, we have each other and we support each other.”

It’s this connection to the theater community that Lane loves.  “I crave rehearsal,” she said.  “I love the team sport of sharing the process rather than it being some isolated moment.  Every night is its own universe to recreate.  I can’t think that far ahead.  I just don’t know how I’m going to feel when I come out the other end of the very long train.”

Sweet Bird of Youth will run through October 28 at the Goodman Theatre.

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