By MICHAEL SMITH World Scene Writer on May 12, 2011, at 2:25 AM Updated on 5/12/11 at 2:51 AM
It’s nearly 30 years since Michael Wright wrote “Blood Relations,” the first of his plays that the applied professor of creative writing, theater and film at the University of Tulsa saw produced onstage.
The dark comedy – a man leaves his wife and takes their son, unaware that she’s pregnant with another child, who as a man comes looking for his father – is memorable to Wright for several reasons. The most obvious is that the 1983 Washington, D.C., production won him a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.
A more unusual memory: the main character’s hairstyle.
“People were so taken with Warren, and it was playing around Halloween, that they wanted to know how to costume themselves as Warren,” Wright said. “He has a very distinctive patch of hair that is dyed a certain way for a certain reason. People wanted to know, ‘How did you guys do that?’
“I don’t want to say too much about that, because it would give too much away. People will just have to see how unique it is.”
“Blood Relations” opens Thursday at Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. Fourth St. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, as well as May 19-21. Tickets are $10.
Wright had attended plays produced by the Nightingale’s avant-garde resident group, Midwestern Theater Troupe, and he decided to offer them a sample of his work. The group, including director John Cruncleton (who is helming “Blood Relations”), liked Wright’s early play so much that the production is the troupe’s nominee for the upcoming Tulsa Awards for Theatre Excellence.
“The heart of the play is about the nature of truth – how sometimes truth is a matter of perception, based on an individual need, (because) rarely do people in conflict see the same truth, if only out of defensiveness,” Wright said. “(But it’s) also about language (and) how we communicate or not based on word choice.”
As far as word choice goes, the ones that the theater troupe uttered to Wright were clear and concise.
“They looked at my play and said, ‘We really like this, we’d like to do it,'” the professor recalled. “Playwrights don’t turn down offers like that.”
Original Print Headline: ‘Blood’ hooks theater troupe