Dan Lane Williams: Picturing his role in the Arts

16265555_10155918339183539_9102835941379583012_nThe American Theatre of Actors concentrates on dark New York back stories for its summer cutting-edge series. THE SANDMAN, written by Lynn Navarra and directed by Ken Coughlin, tells the story of two beat cops, moonlighting in construction, caught up in a battle between a pub owner and the Irish mob… NYC circa 1979 … will be revived for a limited run, August 9 – 20 (Wed. – Sat. @ 8:00 pm and Sun. @ 3pm). Performances for this revival will be held at The John Cullum Theatre of the American Theatre of Actors. For reservations, call 212.581.3044. Tickets are $20 (cash at the door).

We got hold of Dane Lane Williams, eminent photographer and acclaimed actor for a comment or two just prior to opening.

NY in the 70 was a tough place … is it better now? 

Having heard stories about the city in the 70’s and having moved here in ’81 I can only say from experience that the city is definitely a better place to live.  42nd street alone typifies the battle zone like feeling that existed back then and now it is a Disney Land comparatively.

This is an expansive play, would it make a good movie? 

This play has a definite feel that it could be a movie.  The different settings in which we play, and the aura of times gone by that can be felt throughout this piece

What is your role in the play and what is your creative process? 

I am Donnie Finn, a ne’er do well pretender to the Irish mob.  I think I am at the top of the heap only to find myself on the bottom rung as ‘a two bit loan shark’ who screws his friend when the chips are down.  Finding the meaning in the words is always my starting point and looking for the similarities with me and the character and in the process finding the differences too, and play with it all until it settles in.  For this role as well there was the added layer of being a native Irishman and adapting the speech patterns to the lines

Your are in an historic theater. There’s only about three or four of the “original” off-off Broadway spaces left, how is it to work there 

Just the idea of who has worked in this theatre and the decades of theatrical firsts, both with material and the people who got a start here.  the atmosphere you breath in every time you walk in and on to the stage fills me with certainty that I am at home here and in the theatre

What’s next?   

I am a managing director of Wednesday Repertory Company, established to produce new and provocative work.  We have have begun to produce a reading series of full length plays with the intention of mounting a full length production next year.  We also have a showcase of original one acts slated for November, our second this year.

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