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High school uses local playwright's work

Nina Wright. Photo submitted. (click for larger version)
November 07, 2012 - By Olivia Shumaker

Review Staff Writer

Lake Orion has a wealth of creative minds, including Nina Wright, a local playwright and novelist whose play On My Boyfriends' Bicycles is currently being brought to life by the Lake Orion High School Thespians.

"I really was surprised when the high school was interested in doing it, and I was very pleased," Wright said.

Wright grew up in northwest Ohio, and always knew she wanted to be either an actor or a writer. Her earliest writing experience was at four or five years old, when her dad began typing stories she told out loud about a little girl named Honey Blue-Eyes.

In college Wright majored in theater and left school for a while to work as a professional actor. She returned several years later and earned a graduate degree in teaching English as a second language as well as a masters in English Literature, having decided that she wanted to keep acting as a hobby instead of a job. Wright taught English to Middle Easterners and worked as a freelance writer while earning her masters.

"I was really good at not requiring a lot of sleep, which is really useful, especially in grad school," Wright said.

When Wright first began writing creatively, she turned to plays because of her love of and experience with theater.

Wright estimated that of the roughly 20 plays she has written, about 12 have had professional productions.

One of these, titled Cherchez Dave Robicheaux, about an Indiana woman who leaves her husband to go to Louisiana and search for the fictional Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux, has had professional productions in California, Chicago, Toledo and Ann Arbor.

Wright began writing novels about 18 years ago. Her first published novel was Whiskey on the Rocks, an adult mystery novel about a real estate agent whose husband suddenly dies, leaving her with an Afghan hound puppy whose penchant for stealing expensive objects leads her owner to the many sundry adventures in her Michigan town.

It became the first novel of Wright's Whiskey Mattimoe series.

"Mostly it's easier than writing one completely contained book," Wright said. "You don't have to start all over inventing all new characters. You already know them. They already have back stories."

When the Lake Orion Thespians selected her play On My Boyfriends' Bicycles, Wright came in at adviser Leann Lowe's request to give them a playwright's input. The play tells the tale of Mia, a forty-something woman who learns to recover from her recent life troubles thanks to her much younger boyfriend and former student. Wright asked to have as many behind-the-scenes people as possible there in addition to the actors so that she could stress that their role is just as important as the actors—their fingerprints were on their part of the play.

"We had a lot of fun talking about the discovery process of theater," Wright said.

The Thespians will show On My Boyfriends' Bicycles 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 15, 16, and 17, hosting and meet-and-greet with Wright at 6:30 on the 15th.

Wright is in the process of writing her seventh Whiskey Mattimoe book as well as a play called Wish I Were Here. Visit Wright at www.ninawright.net or look for her works at any major book carrier.

"I would frankly just urge people, if they haven't gone to see a play in a long time, to see a play," Wright said. "It's exhilarating."

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