Several decades into his theater career, Jaston Williams remains a prolific writer and performer. He's well known, of course, for co-writing and co-starring (along with Joe Sears) in the long-running Tuna plays, but in more recent years, he's created several autobiographical one-man shows.
"I went on an autobiographical binge. You know, Maid Marion in a Stolen Car was all the truth," Williams says, adding with a relieved laugh, "You know, nobody sued! I'm so amazed!"
After a handful of shows that recounted Williams' colorful past, he was eager to create original characters again. "I wanted to get back into fictional characters.... creating characters from scratch," he says. In A Wolverine Walks into a Bar, he's done just that, creating several new characters that, while fictional, draw inspiration from people Williams has known or observed over the years. "I lived in New Orleans for thirteen, fourteen years on Bourbon Street," he says. "There's nothing that's happened in a bar that I haven't seen twice." The bar setting serves as connective tissue for the show, which is a series of monologues and duets all set in various bars.
"I wrote a couple of monologues that were set in bars, just for the fun of writing them," Williams says. "And it kind of turned into this." Once he had a few ideas in mind, he decided that he didn't want to perform this show alone, and he thought of his old friend, actress Lauren Lane. "I thought, 'you know, I want to be on stage with her again.' So I wrote stuff for her."
And it worked out well -- Williams is having a great time working with Lane, who he considers a natural talent. "Once in a while, you get on stage and you get the opportunity to work with someone of a kind of natural stature," he says. "They own the space. And she's one of those. Joe Sears was one of those people. I've worked with a number that are."