Bloomfield Hills couple star opposite one another in 'Shakespeare in Love'

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

The upside to starring in a theater production with your spouse is that you can practice lines at home together, say Patrick and Ashley Lane of Bloomfield Hills.

The downside, though, is that your significant other also can tell if you aren't giving your performance your all. Or make you laugh with just a look.

The Lanes should know. They're starring opposite one another in the Village Players of Birmingham's "Shakespeare in Love," which opened Friday and runs on weekends through Sept. 26. Tickets are on sale now.

"She knows all my tricks, so I have to always be on my game with her," said Patrick.

Patrick and Ashley Lane of Bloomfield Hills star opposite one another in the Village Players of Birmingham's "Shakespeare in Love."

As community theater gradually returns to Metro Detroit with live performances, the Village Players has been one of the first local companies to have in-person shows. They performed "Godspell" in August.

And pairing a married couple in the lead roles — Patrick plays Will and Ashley plays Viola — adds another layer to the performances. The Village Players' "Shakespeare in Love" is produced and directed by Bryan and Holly Conroy of Royal Oak.

Patrick and Ashley met at the University of Evansville in Indiana where they were both performance majors in the theater department. They've performed opposite each other a few times. They played George and Susan in “Once in a Lifetime” in 2011 at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and "Leading Ladies" at the Village Players in 2017. Patrick played Leo and Ashley played Meg.

"That only half counts because I played a woman for the majority of the show," jokes Patrick, who like Ashley, has a graduate degree in acting from the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

Married since 2012, they lived in New York and Chicago before moving to Michigan in 2016. Ashley grew up in Beverly Hills in Oakland County. They now have two young daughters, 5 and almost 2.

Running lines at home together for "Shakespeare in Love," it's very convenient, said Ashley.

"I think our daughters know some of the words now too," said Ashley.

And after a year of virtual productions — Ashley also did some socially distanced stage readings — both can't wait to perform in person again.

"I was very grateful for those experiences during the past year, but there’s nothing like performing for a live audience," said Ashley. "I’m so excited to get back to it and to feel the energy of a full house! I can’t wait."

mfeighan@detroitnews.com

'Shakespeare in Love'

at the Village Players of Birmingham

September 11, 17, 18, 24, 25 at 8 p.m.; September 12, 19, 26 at 2 p.m.

For tickets, go to http://www.birminghamvillageplayers.com/tickets/.