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Friday, December 12, 2014

If You Don’t Know Jack, Let Lance Alan Introduce You

Lance Alan as Jack Gable, questioning the far-fetched schemes of Leo Clark (Keith Firstenberg)
Lance Alan is a man of many talents.  While this is his first time on the Barn stage, he has appeared in Metro Detroit theaters for the past 16 years. He is also an accomplished playwright and director.  I first met Lance last year when we performed together in his two-man, one-act play called The Wager.  I was struck by his creative vision, drive and energy, and how he embodied his character (Lucifer) so completely on stage that at times I thought he was possessed.  Much of Lance’s writing is dark and surreal, so I was pleasantly surprised to see him audition for Leading Ladies, a light-hearted farce, where I cast him in the role of Jack Gable. Jack also doubles as Stephanie – and Olivia in the Shakespeare scenes.

As Lance says, “This play and this role, it's a departure from the kind of thing to which I'm usually drawn. I've performed in my fair share of comedies but nothing this farcical. I've never performed as a man pretending to be a woman, so there's an appeal to that, to try something new, to challenge myself as a performer. And it's a lot of fun. And people have been telling me for years that I need to perform at The Barn. It really is a beautiful facility. I'm glad to finally have the opportunity.”

Lance has some great insights into his character Jack, who starts out as Leo’s sidekick but eventually learns to stand on his own two feet – which is harder than it looks in high heels!   Lance describes Jack as “a lost soul. He's a struggling actor, playing roles, second fiddle to Leo, without a real identity of his own. He lacks the talent or the confidence to be a successful actor but he presses on with Leo because he doesn't have any other options. What he really wants is a place to call his own, to be able to look down and see his feet on the ground and know where he's standing -- to know who he is. That's the dream that keeps him going. Stephanie is the most important role he's ever played because, through her, he gains the confidence to be himself, to get what he wants, to get the girl in the end and finally establish his identity.”  

I asked Lance if he had ever done something in the pursuit of love (a common theme in Leading Ladies).  He replied: “I grew up in Bad Axe, smack dab in the thumb of Michigan. It's entirely possible that I would still be there had I not met and fallen for a young lady who was also from the area but was going to college in Detroit. When she went back to school, I did what any rationally smitten young man would do. I chased her down here. Eventually, I lost the girl but, by moving to the Detroit area, I gained so much more. So while that was hardly a situation where I did something silly, it definitely was a life-changing situation motivated by what I perceived as love.”

In addition to performing in and writing plays, Lance has been a musician, worked in radio, acted in commercials, and done voice over work. He recently performed in Collabfeature's Train Station, to be released in 2015. He lives in West Bloomfield where he enjoys running his own dog walking/petsitting business.

The Farmington Players' production of Leading Ladies runs through December 20.  The show is proudly sponsored by Cadillac Travel Group. Tickets can be purchased online at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955.

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