Diane Lane On Her Long-Awaited Return to the New York Stage — 'There Are Wonderful Ghosts Here'

Pam WrightLife

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Diane Lane has returned to a New York stage in a new play by Bathsheba Doran, The Mystery of Love & Sex.

It's been 37 years since she graced the exact same stage. In 1977, she was in the ensemble of The Cherry Orchard, which starred Raul Julia and Meryl Streep. She was only 12.

“There are wonderful ghosts here, actually,” Diane Lane told the Associated Press. “I feel like I walk past the ghost of myself.”

Diane Lane plays the middle-aged mother of a college-age daughter, who is coming to terms with her own marriage in the shadow of her daughter's new, budding romance.

Diane Lane, 50, told the Associated Press said her decision to return to the theatre was multi-faceted.

"There were a lot of little things in there that I related to," she said. "She’s 50. Her daughter’s 21. She has this whole Georgia thing. I lived in Georgia for a long time and that accent is very close to me. I felt like, ‘Oh, there’s enough familiar territory on the table for me to not feel like I’m completely out of orbit.’"

Although her love of theatre runs deep and she longed to return, especially considering her father, Burt Lane, was an acclaimed acting coach, family commitments kept her locked in to the West Coast.

"I moved to L.A. That’s a huge thing," she said. "When your kid is in school, you’re anchor is out. It’s like, ‘Forget it. Call me in 20 years.’ Leaving your people to do a play is incredibly selfish. Yes, it’s incredibly selfish to do a film as well, but it’s not quite as long and not quite as immersive."

Diane Lane's decision to move to Los Angeles in the 1970s did not necessarily sit well with her dad.

"He was very trepidatious," said Lane. "He was very worried. He felt like the vampires live out there. He said, ‘They’ll punch in you in face in New York, but they’ll stab you in the back in L.A.’ He was worried. Especially in that era when there was no Internet and no anonymity. Now everyone stabs you in the face."

Lane is following in the footsteps of some of the actresses she admires most.

"I loved Shirley MacLaine, I loved Vivian Leigh, and I loved Jane Fonda," she gushed. "Those were my three archetypical types of excellence and self-possession. They possessed a kind of mercurial talent that they themselves were not necessarily even cognizant of. That is what I loved about real actresses that I saw in the theater."

Pam Wright