Spring Awakening follows a group of blooming teenagers and their terrified parents as they navigate the hilarious and horrifying experience of growing up. This brutally authentic view of youth illuminates a world of sexual shame, moral order, and too much trig homework. Caught between what is ‘right’ and what is desired, adults and children alike are at once unbearably innocent, unbearably corrupt, and completely without answers.
This production hopes to highlight and explore these complexities using mask-work, song, dance, rough housing, and swinging from the treetops.
First performed under heavy censorship in Germany in 1906, Frank Wedekind’s play closed after one night amid public outrage and charges of obscenity. The radical content—which traces teenagers in their painfully funny contradictions of innocence—remains fresh and unsettling even in our own sex-saturated culture.
Far from the popular romanticized rock musical version of the show, this production stays true to Wedekind’s treatment of youth: unsentimental and brutally authentic. Wedekind treats his child characters like fascinating little animals – flawed, adorable, dangerous, silly. They fall far to either side of the safe teen middle ground of coolness and righteousness.
Using Jonathan Franzen’s thrilling and definitive translation, Spring Awakening is even more of a disturbance and a reproach to contemporary pieties than it was a century ago.
No one is sure. No one is right. Every one is to blame.