Lois Robbins remembers her first kiss – and more. The 50+ actor wrote and performs L.O.V.E.R., which boldly recounts her relationships and sexual experiences from the tumultuous teen years to the present day.
A stage and film actress, Lois was inspired to write after taking a climbing trip to conquer a longtime fear of heights and also being faced with a serious medical diagnosis. She began writing a book, which she called “historical fiction.” But a chance reading with a psychic took her in a different direction. “Your guides want me to tell you, it isn’t a book, it’s a play…and it’s about sex…and you know how to write that,” the psychic told her. “If you do it, it’s a game changer.” She woke up in the middle of that same evening, bolted out of bed, wrote an outline, and had the first draft completed in four weeks.
Performances of L.O.V.E.R. begin August 21 for a September 8 opening at the Alice Griffin (Signature). Karen Carpenter, who directed Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore, will direct L.O.V.E.R. For more information go to the play’s website.
Can you point to one event that triggered your interest in your career?
I was five years old and placed in the chorus of a school play about the months of the year. I desperately wanted to play the month of April-it was a dramatic role, she had to cry on cue. April showers bring May flowers. The day of the play, the girl playing the role got sick. I told my teacher I knew the part. She pinned the umbrella on me and that was it! I was hooked!
What about this career choice did you find most appealing?
I was always a very imaginative child. I loved stepping in and out of different characters and playing make believe. I enjoy the entire creative process. Singing, memorizing, spontaneity and performing. It all fills me with joy.
What steps did you take to begin your education or training?
I was always in school plays, I studied dance and voice. In high school I was in drama club. I received a BFA in Theater and studied summers at HB studios. I continued to study out of college both in New York and Los Angeles.
Along the way, were people encouraging or discouraging?
Early on, my parents weren’t very encouraging. They didn’t feel it was a practical lifestyle. When they realized I was committed, they got on board. I was always a dedicated, hard worker and they respected that.
Did you ever doubt your decision and attempt a career change?
When did your career reach a tipping point?
When I booked the contract role on Ryan’s Hope, many more opportunities came my way. I took time off to raise my kids and basically had to start all over again. The revival of Cactus Flower was a second opportunity, but the reality is, I think I’ve had more exciting opportunities professionally in the last four years, than any other time in my career.
Can you describe a challenge you had to overcome?
Yes, after having my kids I had to prove to the industry that I was still alive and breathing. Everyone forgot me. But I don’t take no for an answer and I knocked on every door I could do get back in the game.
What single skill has proven to be most useful?
Perseverance. You just have to stick with it.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Writing L.O.V.E.R. is definitely up there…but my family will always be proudest achievement.
Any advice for others entering your profession?
Find a balance. A career as an actor is challenging. Don’t sacrifice your “life” for your career. Be with people who encourage and support your passion. Visualize, actualize, create. This is no dress rehearsal.
Top: L.O.V.E.R. show Image by Gian Andrea di Stefano