Austin Bickel leads talented “Clue: On Stage” cast as butler Wadsworth

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It’s anyone’s guess “whodunit” as the Hartland High School Drama Club presents “Clue: On Stage,” Friday through Sunday, Nov. 8 to 10, at Hartland High School, 10635 Dunham Road in Hartland. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday.

From now until opening night on Nov. 8, The Livingston Post will be profiling cast members of “Clue: On Stage.”

To say Austin Bickel grew up on the stage isn’t quite an exaggeration. The Hartland High School senior, who plans to pursue a career in musical theater, has been involved with more than 30 stage productions for school and community theater groups since the age of 5. This fall, he appears as Wadsworth, the uptight and formal butler who is the driving force in Hartland Drama Club’s “Clue: On Stage.”

We asked Bickel, son of Laura and Brian Bickel and soon-to-be Eagle Scout, how he embodies the challenging butler role in the farce-meets-murder-mystery.

Austin Bickel | Photo by Joshua Archer

How does this role of Wadsworth compare to others you’ve played?
I’ve never had to do physical comedy before, so being able to portray such a lively and physical character was a wonderful experience. It’s also been quite a while since I’ve had a chance to play a comedic role at all, and I’ve missed doing so dearly, as all I’ve done the past few years are tragic or serious characters.

Was Wadsworth’s British accent difficult for you to master?
The British accent wasn’t too difficult most of the time. I’ve had to use one for roles in the past, and I’ve been speaking with one for fun for as long as I can remember. The only really difficult part was speaking really quickly without stuttering.

What do you admire about your character?
I admire his charisma most. He seems very confident and is very quick witted.

Is there anything about your character that you find annoying?
He can be sarcastic or misleading when trying to get an answer out of him. Colonel Mustard actually does become frustrated with Wadsworth for this very reason at one point in the show.

If you were stranded in a remote location with Wadsworth, would you survive? Why or why not?
Wadsworth doesn’t seem like he would be very suited for the outdoors. I doubt he and I would survive for long. However, he could very well be hiding a few tricks up his sleeve.

Would you want to hang out with Wadsworth in real life?
I honestly don’t know if I’d feel safe hanging out with my character. For all I know, he could be the killer.

How does “Clue: On Stage” compare to other Hartland Drama Club productions?
We’ve primarily done dramatic shows the past couple of years. The most recent show that we’ve done that wasn’t necessarily dramatic was “The Music Man,” and even that had a message to tell and some dramatic moments. It’s been nice doing a show that is purely comedic and entirely for the purpose of entertainment without trying to have a moral or message.

Being a senior, what does this show mean to you?
This being my last fall play at the high school, it signifies the beginning of the end of all we’ve done in high school. I’ve made several friends along the way and it’s great to see how we’ve all grown together as performers and as people. I’ll certainly miss working with all these wonderful and talented performers after this season is over, but part of me is excited to be going on to other things and other groups.

— Jennifer Stang

Tickets are available online at www.hartlanddramaclub.com and at the door. Individual tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students, children and seniors. Group rates are also available.

For more information, contact Mary Jo Del Vero at (810) 626-2360 or via e-mail at maryjodelvero@hartlandschools.us.


 

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About The Livingston Post 1439 Articles
The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.

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