Silent Laughter is Heard Loudly Featuring 54 High School Students

Avondale High School Students Sweep MIFA Regionals and Earn a Spot at the State Finals

The Avondale High School theater company (ATC) scored a back-to-back sweep of Regional victories this weekend, as their mainstage production of Silent Laughter, featuring the energies of 54 Avondale High School students, scored a ONE rating and won the MIFA (Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association) Regional Theatre Festival on Saturday – the day after the company also won the Studio Show Regional with its 12-member company of A Thousand Cranes. The double win is unprecedented as the ATC won both its Regionals, and both production teams qualified for the MIFA State Finals February 17 and 18 at The Charlotte Performing Arts Center in western Michigan.

Cast members rehearse for MIFA Regionals

Cast members rehearse for MIFA Regionals

During the first day of Regionals, the student-directed production of A Thousand Cranes not only scored a perfect ONE rating, the group also swept the Superior Awards – the highest individual honor MIFA bestows to students. The entire cast was recognized for its ensemble work (Bella Javier, Jack Youngs, Rachel Jones, Nick Christy, Amarae’ Robinson, Elena Blatt and Hannah Bahorski); Rachel Jones, Bella Javier and Jack Youngs were singled out for their superior individual performances; Noah Swart picked up two Superior Awards for the percussion and the program design; Julia Gavulic scored an honor as propmaster and crane maker and student directors and designers, John Miller and Nathan Clifton, claimed the final award of the night.

The second day of Regionals garnered a truck-load of top awards for the cast and crew of Silent Laughter along with the ONE rating that will take the students to MIFA State Finals. Winning Excellent Awards were Meghan Gwilt for her performance as Ruth; Deven Queen for his design and creation of the dialog cards; the lobby display by Ramya Anbarasu, Miranda Miller and Huy Tran; the quick change backstage mastery of Chloe Stark; and the backstage team of Zach Pedigo, Ramya Anbarasu and Miranda Miller for one particularly challenging and funny stunt. Scoring Superior Honors were Brendan Hart for his performance as Billy; Gordon Gwilt for his performance as Billy’s Pal; the musical direction of Maggie Youngs, the vocal orchestra of Maggie Youngs, Lauren Andrus, McKayla Major, Rebecca Piepszak, Shelby Porter and Mackenzie Tillison; the team responsible for the execution of manic and wild dialog cards (Deven Queen, Seven Garrison, Patrick Kelley, Ethan Sangalang, Meher Yeda and Tess Chargo); the program design team of Lila Letica and Lauren McGhee; the stage management leadership of Josh Miller; and the festival coordination of Rachel Pastori.

The success of the company this year characterizes an amazing 30-year run by Avondale High School teacher and ATC director, Edmond Guay, who “has long devoted his career to developing students not only as actors and crew members but also as leaders and engaged community members,” said Avondale Superintendent, Dr. James Schwarz. “Ed has done an amazing job over three decades, impacting htousands of students and adding so much richness to our community,” he added.

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