Source: Sherman Publications

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High school thespians ready another play

October 17, 2012

Senior Madison Preuss and juniro Sam Wright play the two main roles - Mia and Kyle - in My Boyfriends’ Bicycles. Photo by O. Shumaker
By Olivia Shumaker

Review Staff Writer

The thespians are back on stage in Lake Orion High School with their fall production of My Boyfriends' Bicycles, a first time experience on many fronts.

The tale told in My Boyfriends' Bicycles is of Mia, an assistant professor of English in her early forties who, since an awful marriage and divorce, has developed a consistent practice of meeting new boyfriends, convincing them to get her spectacular bicycles, and then dumping the guy and riding off into the sunset with the bicycle. The play picks up with Mia, played by senior Madison Preuss, meeting a former student of hers who gradually becomes the voice of reason in her life.

"It's kind of Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride, except she doesn't even get to the aisle," said thespian supervisor Leann Lowe.

The play was selected primarily because it could serve as a learning experience for the students involved. It was written by Nina Wright, an established children's author and playwright who is also the wife of a Lake Orion substitute teacher, Chuck Yokum. The fact that Wright is local means that the thespians have access to her through the process of bringing My Boyfriends' Bicycles to the stage, a rare boon for a play. They could also learn through Wright the process of writing and publishing a play, and how their modifications to the play will affect how she publishes the final work.

In addition, although My Boyfriends' Bicycles has been read in Elton, Illinois, it has never actually been presented onstage.

"I thought, 'Wow, this will be really cool, it's a Michigan premiere,'" Lowe said. "It is however a mature audience script."

As this is a unique production, the thespians know it will cater to a unique audience set. When the play shows on Nov. 15, 16, and 17, it will start at 7:30, with the intention of encouraging a high-school-and-above audience only. While much of the play has been toned down by the students and Lowe, the drift of the plot and the romantic interest remains.

"Experimentally it's very different than what we've done, but for me I have several juniors and seniors who are extremely good actors and actresses," Lowe said.

The other reason the play was selected was because it would provide the cast—a six-person set made up solely of juniors and seniors—a greater characterization stretch than previous works. Lowe wanted the involved thespians to have to work a little harder at figuring out how to relate to their characters, especially since some of them have serious plans to go into acting. When the play starts, the focus will be predominantly on the actors as scenery will be fairly minimal, a stark contrast to the bright and complicated sets of a production like Seussical.

"This is definitely a teaching opportunity I didn't want to pass up," Lowe said.

Come check out the thespians at their performances on Nov. 15, 16 and 17. On the 15th the auditorium lobby will open at 6:30 so that the audience can meet and mingle with Wright before the show, and again, audience members of the high-school-and-up age bracket are ideal.

"It's going to be very different, but I think it's going to be something the kids will learn a lot from," Lowe said. "I'm hoping the audience will get the message that it's what is inside that matters, it's what you feel—your emotions and how you interact with somebody."