Avondale Theatre Company hosts Dramathon to Raise Money and Build Skills

Avondale High School ninth through twelfth graders gave up 12 hours of their weekend to attend the school’s theater department event, Dramathon, which ran from Saturday noon to Saturday midnight. The event raises money to support the Avondale Theatre Company (ATC) compete in regional and state level competitions throughout the school year. This year, the event raised approximately $4500. In addition, students have the opportunity to hone their acting skills, meet new people, and grow as problem solvers and leaders. For the company that numbers well over 100 students, the event also focuses on team building.

Avondale Theatre Company hosts Dramathon

Avondale Theatre Company hosts Dramathon

“Dramathon is a key activity with two very important goals,” explained Avondale High School teacher, Edmond Guay who has directed the ATC for 30 years, “first, to raise travel and production expenses for our touring one-act festival show, and second, to bring tons of kids from all different paths together to build a strong foundation of teamwork and company for the year.”

Guay begins the event with one key question, “where are the seniors, the juniors, the sophomores, and the freshmen?” As the students respond by raising their hands, the troupe notices where everyone is sitting – usually grouped by grade level. When Guay asks the same question at the end of the night, “the entire collection is mixed up … the class distinction no longer matters – that’s a vital part of building the company,” he said.

For senior, Antonio Vettraino the event is a growing experience and represent the whole ATC in miniature. ”The weekend is partly about building your stage presence and mostly about developing a bond with the other company members,” he said.  Adding that the student are ”stuck together for 12 hours (and) in that time we have to think on our feet, be creative, and solve problems on the spot. It’s a lot like putting on a full production when we count so much on each other – but it’s crammed into 12 hours and we’re doing it with people we may not know well or even at all.”

ATC will begin the 2016-2017 season on November 3 with The Fantasticks. Staged to state-title success by Avondale in 1989, the Fantasticks, is the longest running musical in American history – running off-Broadway for more than 50 years. It weaves the eternally romantic tale of a boy, a girl, two parents, and a wall. Written by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones, the production includes such unforgettable songs as “Try to Remember”, “Soon it’s Gonna Rain”, and “They Were You”. The ATC staging of the show will place the story in the 21st century and feature creative twists resulting in a heartfelt and memorable performance.

Following the Fantasticks, the troupe will begin working on staging their entry into the Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association (MIFA) competition held at the end of January. This year, the company will perform Silent Laughter, the theatrical staging of a silent movie complete with pratfalls, sight gags, pie fights and dialog cards. The ATC season rounds out with Seussical the Musical, and Children of Eden. The season promises to follow in the tradition of excellence in theater production that has been the mainstay of the Avondale Theatre Company for 30 years – fueled by the relationships forged each year during Dramathon.

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