How The Past Shapes The Future, an Interview With Lois Robbins

Interviews

By Pat McAndrew, Editor-in-Chief, All About Solo
 
Lois Robbins is a native New Yorker and an accomplished actress. Ms. Robbins recently shot the independent film “The Aspern Papers,” in Venice, Italy alongside Vanessa Redgrave, Jolie Richardson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. She also stars in the film “Shepherd,” which filmed in Budapest in 2017, directed by Lynn Roth. She will also be starring in the feature “One Nation Under God” with Casper Van Dien, Kevin Sorbo and Antonio Sabato Jr, as well as in the YA adventure film “Kingfish” alongside Molly Ringwald. She can be seen starring in the independent films “Blowtorch,” opposite Billy Baldwin, Kathy Najimy and Armand Assante, “Juvie” alongside Eric Roberts, and in “Ithaca,” Meg Ryan’s directorial debut with Sam Shepherd, Melanie Griffith and Meg Ryan. On the stage, Ms. Robbins has starred in two world premiere musical comedies: “My History of Marriage,” by Academy Award and two-time Grammy winner David Shire, Lee Kalcheim and Samuel Kalcheim presented by the 2011 New York Music Theatre Festival; and “A Time for Love” by David Shire and Richard Maltby Jr. at the Rubicon Theatre Company at the Roundabout  Theatre’s Black Box. She also starred as Stephanie Dickinson in “Cactus Flower” at the Westside Arts Theater produced by Daryl Roth. This past spring, Ms. Robbins starred in the world premiere of her self-penned one-act comic play titled: “L.O.V.E.R.” The play is a riff on childhood, adolescence, and finally adulthood from a grown-up woman’s point of view. Directed by Sonia Sebastian, “L.O.V.E.R.” premiered at the Zephyr Theatre on Melrose Avenue and recently ran in the 2018 United Solo Theatre Festival in NYC. All About Solo chatted with Ms. Robbins below about her show “L.O.V.E.R.”
 
Pat McAndrew: How did you discover theater and, more specifically, solo performance?
Lois Robbins:I have been doing theater all my life. From the time I was in 1st grade I always had lead roles in school plays and musicals. I started working professionally at 17, mostly in television and specifically on soap opera’s. During that time, I started doing cabaret shows, which were solo shows. So, I guess that was my introduction to solo performance.

What inspired you to create this piece?
I had started writing a book and 40 pages into it I had a chance reading with a psychic who randomly asked me about my writing. She said, “It seems you have started writing a book. Well, it’s not a book, it’s a play…and you need to write it.” After that, it just started pouring out of me.

That’s an amazing sign! Why do you think “L.O.V.E.R” is important for today’s audience?
I think we are in the age of the woman. Women’s voices need to be heard. My play deals with issues people don’t really like to talk about much and I think it’s resonating because of that. It’s raw, unfiltered and allows the audience to dig deep into their own history to see where and why they have landed where they are in life.

What is your favorite part about performing this show?
I love reliving and visiting with my own history-the painful and humorous parts are equally moving to me. Sharing it with the audience is a gift for me.

Sharing with the audience is key, isn’t it? What were some challenges that you faced in developing “L.O.V.E.R.”?
As I got deeper into the writing things kept changing. All the changes started to inform other aspects of the play, so I had to rewrite even more. That was challenging. Each production taught me things that needed revisiting. One of the most challenging moments was when I wrote an entire scene on an airplane. I got to my hotel, opened my iPad to reread what I had written, and the entire scene had vanished! I was beside myself. It was a scene about adversity. The irony wasn’t lost on me. Instead of freaking out, I went to bed, woke up and rewrote it. It was better the second time.

How does this solo piece speak to other work you have done?
This is a total departure from my other work. It’s me, baring it all, being my most authentic self. I call it my coming out party.

What do you hope the audience walks away with after seeing your show?
I hope when they leave the theater, they look at their own lives and start to assess how their past has shaped who they are, for better or worse. I hope they hold their loved ones a little tighter and love and value themselves even more.

L.O.V.E.R.
Written and Performed by Lois Robbins
Sept. 16 at 2pm, Sept. 24, 27, 29 at 9pm
Director: Sonia Sebastian
Co-Producer: Racquel Lehrman
Photo by Anna Gunselmann
BESTSELLER at United Solo 2018
Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
New York City

Author: Pat McAndrew, Editor-in-Chief, allaboutsolo.com

Pat McAndrew is a NYC-based actor, writer, and consultant. As an actor, he has performed Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, and in various locations throughout New York City, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. His one-man show, REEL, was performed in the 2017 United Solo Theatre Festival and featured in the new documentary, Electronic Crack. Using his background as an actor as his foundation, Pat consults with individuals and organizations on how to communicate effectively and build deep, meaningful relationships in the digital age. He is the Founder of The Low Tech Trek, an organization devoted to discovering a better balance between human interaction and how we use technology. He is a member of Village Playback Theatre, Endless River Arts, and Svaha Theatre Collective. Pat holds an MA in Theatre from Villanova University. Check out patmcandrew.com for more information.

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