If you've never heard of Kate Lane, you soon will. An up-and-coming Chicago actor, Lane recently received rave reviews for her role in Viaduct Theater's "The Observatory."
However, acting is only one piece of the puzzle. For roughly five years, Lane has been working on "redBLUE," a short LGBTQ film she both wrote and produced. The story of a young artist manipulated by her mentors, "redBLUE" stars Tony-nominated Howard Witt and Lane herself. Although a self-described workaholic, Lane found time to discuss the film and a host of other projects.WCT:
(Windy City Times) What inspired your film?KL:
(Kate Lane) That's a question that makes me squirm. Most succinctly, personal events, but also, screenwriting as an art form. When I was 18, I took a cross-graduate class on Heidegger's Being and Time and the professor showed Muholland Drive. I bought the movie and I watched it every day before bed for two months.
I started to write about who I was in love—or infatuated with—at the time, then spent a lot of time detailing dolly shots (I would marry a dolly if I could). A lot of the inspiration comes from a visual level, thinking about events in my life as if they were a fairytale; the movement of a camera tracking the space down the divide between our bodies spooning, mirroring the divide between two pages in an open book.
In "redBLUE" there's a book motif, and that inspiration came from the fact that I was measuring all my feelings by the things I read in books. I was a philosophy major in addition to acting, so I come from an academic world [in which] everything is calculated and overstuffed with metaphor and meaning and maxims and blah blah get-a-lifeWCT:
As a producer, what challenges did you face?KL:
We had the easiest, most fulfilling shoot I have ever been on. It was in post [production] when monsters arose. We [had a] great editor on board for free, but he had a lot of projects going on that paid him, so it took awhile for the rough cut. Then something went wrong with the hard drive and gave us a huge scare. My co-producer and director, Brittani Smith, and I are both workaholics, so we had round-the-clock schedules. Getting an original score and everything edited took over a year.WCT:
Had you considered directing the film yourself ?KL:
Not even for a second. I have too many ideas and I do not know how to simplify. Brittani understood the characters and the film as a whole. She knows how to talk to actors, and she knows how to take charge.WCT:
How was it to portray a character anchored in your personal experience?KL:
I had to detach myself from myself and play someone without the perspective I had gained since I was 18. Brittani was great about keeping me in check and not allowing me to play someone who was more mature than Red. Her naiveté is one of the most important elements, so I am thankful I had Brittani to force me into that uncomfortable, foolish skin.WCT:
What are your hopes for "redBLUE?"KL:
Many have been fulfilled, in the sense that the people who made it are proud of it and think fondly of the experience and one another. We are currently submitting to festivals, including Boston GLBT, Outfest and San Francisco GLBT. Fingers crossed.WCT:
You work in film and theater. Which do you prefer?KL:
I like film better. I like how I can think something and it is like I have spoken something, [whereas] onstage, I might have to add a gesture to make myself clear. I also like the workday; doing a section of the text or action over and over is like yoga for me.WCT:
What are you working on now?KL:
In acting-land, I currently play Tatania in Glass Onion's Midsummer Night's Dream, and am a series regular in the webisodes Classholes. I'm [also] working on two feature-length screenplays—one with my girlfriend, comedian/writer Sarah King, and my grandma, a notable chemist. My grandmother, Sarah, and I had been emailing about Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group, and what it meant to be driven, original and fearless. Sarah and I were just bit by some bug and talked on the phone all day about that email, and ended coming up with an idea for a dark comedy about people's perceptions of female sexuality.WCT:
Obviously, you're out and an actor. Any conflicts?KL:
I guess I gave up a little bit of my marketability in exchange for the chance to be an example to people struggling with their sexuality. There is a good chance I would not be out if I did not want to continue to make my own films and theater. Acting is my core but I compulsively create stuff, so I have to deal with my monsters.
View Kate Lane's work in "Classholes" at www.classholes.com
. Glass Onion's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" runs in rep with "Romeo and Juliet" Mondays and Tuesdays through May 10. For more information, visit www.glassoniontheatre.org
.Interview by Sarah Terez Rosenblum for Windy City Times