Sweet Nothing in My Ear at Avondale High

Avondale High School theatre troupe presents Sweet Nothing in My Ear

The Avondale Theatre Company (ATC), Avondale High School’s award-winning drama troupe, continues its highly challenging season focusing on the clash of cultures and the unity of family by staging Stephen Sachs’ powerful and poignant play Sweet Nothing in My Ear for the annual Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association Theatre Festival and the ATC/Boosters Dessert Theatre on February 5.

Cast of Sweet Nothing in My Ear at Avondale High School Theatre

Cast of Sweet Nothing in My Ear at Avondale High School Theatre

Sweet Nothing in My Ear serves as the ATC’s entry into the annual month-long, three-tiered Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association (MIFA) Theatre Festival which opens at various sites around the state on January 30. The festival continues throughout February, culminating with the 12-show, two-day MIFA State Theatre Finals held this year in Grand Rapids on February 19 and 20. ATC students hope Sweet Nothing is the ticket to festival success; Avondale has qualified for the state finals 15 times during the school’s MIFA tenure, winning the state championship five times (most recently in 2013).

Students use American Sign Language to deliver powerful story

The production is a challenging choice for a high school theatre company and a unique entry for the MIFA Festival. Avondale High School Theatre instructor of 29 years, Edmond Guay, has a history of continuously raising the bar for his students during his tenure. Sweet Nothing in My Ear continues in that spirit. “Every character is portrayed by two actors, and throughout the show, every line of dialog is delivered in both spoken word and American Sign Language,” explains Guay. “This play is the essence of educational theatre as cast members were trained to both speak and sign all the lines in the show. If that’s not educational theatre, I don’t know what is.” To ensure that the lines are accurately delivered in both platforms, the cast has been working with Avondale Theatre Company alum Rachel Bruhn who has been studying ASL for many years.

The cast includes seniors Ian Krueger and Alex Haddad as Dan, sophomores Rachel Jones and Chloe Stark as Laura, senior Sarah Monahan and junior Maggie Youngs as Laura’s mother Sally and senior Conor Lovell and junior Antonio Vettraino as Laura’s father and deaf advocate Max.  Junior Meghan Gwilt, sophomores Marshall Brown and Nick Christy, and freshman Bella Javier portray doctors and advocates.  Sophomore Chris Larson rounds out the cast as Adam, the deaf child.  Sophomores Annie Youngs and Daniel Barr serve as the production’s assistant directors, and senior Maggie Youngs contributes an original musical score to the show.

The 36 members of the backstage crew, selected from over 70 applications, must design and build an entire theatrical production that not only tells the story, but must also be practical enough to travel to various locations during the festival.  Senior Caitlin Blomberg serves as the company’s stage manager and oversees the entire production.  Senior Sarah Monahan pulls double duty as cast and producer, with senior Cheyenne Westover and junior Nathan Clifton serving as assistant stage managers.  Seniors Molly Toger (sets), Nick Wrenn (sets), Ashley Andrews (costumes), Robin Coker (properties), and junior Josh Miller (lights and sound) helm the individual crews.  Sophomore Noah Swart is the show’s assistant producer and festival coordinator, with junior Jackson VanHout and sophomore Alex Holt assisting on lights and sound.

Assisting Guay with the production are community volunteer mentors Matt Bramble, Julie Semones, Samantha Monahan and Betina DuBois.

The Avondale Theatre Company

The Avondale Theatre Company

Don’t Miss your One Chance!

The public will get its one and only chance to see Sweet Nothing in My Ear at the annual ATC/Drama Boosters Dessert Theatre on Friday, February 5 beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Avondale Performing Arts Center (2800 Waukegan, Auburn Hills). Tickets are $12 and include pre-show entertainment, the production of Sweet Nothing just as the MIFA judges see it, and admission to a post-show reception featuring a wide array of gourmet desserts prepared by local bakeries.

Tickets can be purchased at the ATC box office by calling 248-537-6210 anytime or visiting the ATC website at http://www.avondaledrama.com/ and following the links to the ATC’s online ticket sales. There are a limited number of general admission “show only” tickets available at the door on the night of the show for only $5.


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