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Diane Lane sees ghosts in her return to NYC stage.

Byline: Mark Kennedy

NEW YORK -- Diane Lane has returned to a New York stage. It took her long enough.

The "Unfaithful'' and "Man of Steel'' star was still basically a girl the last time she appeared live here -- a whopping 37 years ago.

What lured her back was "The Mystery of Love & Sex,'' a new play by Bathsheba Doran at Lincoln Center Theater, the same place where in 1977 at age 12, she was in the ensemble of "The Cherry Orchard'' and goofed around with co-stars Raul Julia and Meryl Streep.

"There are wonderful ghosts here, actually,'' she said over tea during a recent rehearsal break. "I feel like I walk past the ghost of myself.''

In the new play, directed by Sam Gold, Lane plays the mother of a college-age daughter forced to grapple with both her own marriage and her daughter's budding romance.

AP: What attracted you to this play?

Lane: There were a lot of little things in there that I related to. 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.'

AP: Why has it taken so long to lure you back?

Lane: I moved to L.A. That's a huge thing. 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.

AP: Did doing "Sweet Bird of Youth'' in Chicago in 2012 prepare you? That was the first time you'd been onstage in 23 years.

Lane: It was intense. I use this metaphor: I wanted to find out what was under the hood. I want to blow out my pipes. It's like an old car that's been sitting out there. You don't know. You might blow out a gasket or something. I wanted to see if it was road worthy.

AP: Who were your acting heroes?

Lane: I loved Shirley MacLaine, I loved Vivian Leigh, and I loved Jane Fonda. Those were my three archetypical types of excellence.

AP: You dad, Burt Lane, was an acting coach, who adored theater. Was he worried about you going off to Hollywood in 1978?

Lane: He was very trepidatious. 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!

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Title Annotation:Living
Author:Kennedy, Mark
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Feb 28, 2015
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