Spring Awakening: An uncomfortably awesome musical production

On April 21, 2014 by Michelle Lepori

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Lets get to the point, I turned thirty.

To celebrate, my long distance boyfriend bought my mother and I tickets to see Spring Awakening at the Harris Center in Folsom, Ca. German Expressionist theater? Check. Rock Musical? Check. Tony Awards? EIGHT TIMES. Alright, don’t need to read much more about it do I?

Oh dear. We dress up and get to our front row seats. The show starts. There is a beautiful brunette singing so sweetly, so delicate. “Mama Who Bore Me” is the first song and this girl wants to know how babies are made. Mama ain’t having it. Later on, this chick is getting boned twenty feet above a priest and her schoolmates. Then, she doesn’t know how she got pregnant. It’s like a time machine into our grandparents generation.

This play was first written in 1891 by Frank Wedekind. It was banned and I wonder how it can be shown today. It grabs the meat of an expressionist painting and flays it out as a dead body to shove your face in. Think about the sharp lines, thick black edges, and angry compositions of the time. That is this set, it is all quadratics and angles. Even the stage is presented on a diagonal. It’s the wordless gut punch of shadows painted by artists like Otto Dix, come to life.1006092_10152307475944322_198201749366846491_n

Then the humping starts. Face down, ass up, teenage girls are grinding on the proscenium stage. The queer-queen of school, wanks his gigantic dick with a bit of lazzi humor. Delinquents try to hit the mark in a game of shooting sperm. Maybe we should have read the program first…

Lets just say this is a highly erotic piece and uncomfortable to see with your mother. But then again, I am turning thirty and sex is a human experience. These kids in the play are sheltered and exploding with repressed passions. What a better way to celebrate age than to recognize our humanness without shame.

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Child molestation, back-alley abortion, suicide, rape, homosexuality, and good old fashion German strictness creates a brooding, sideways-world that is somehow being narrated by song. Your typical, horrific, German expressionist painting has invited you inside and lit the walls on fire; sung your lessons with barely out of puberty actors. “Totally fucked” is the highlight song of the night. Honestly, I recommend it.

 

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