Approximate Run Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes (including intermission)
February 24 - 26 at 7:30 pm
February 27 at 3:00 pm
March 3 - 5 at 7:30 pm
Spring Awakening is a tragi-comedy of teenage sex. Its fourteen-year-old heroine, Wendla, is killed by abortion pills. The young Moritz, terrorized by the world around him, and especially by his teachers, shoots himself. The ending seems likely to be the suicide of Moritz's friend, Melchior, but in a confrontation with a mysterious stranger (the famous Masked Man) he finally manages to shed his illusions and face the consequences. "Jonathan Franzen's fraught yet buoyant translation is the best I've ever read. In a culture where lies about adolescence prevail, this funny and honest play is more relevant than ever." — Christopher Shinn, playwright.
Post Performance Discussions
Friday, February 25: Adolescence, Then and Now
This talkback will feature guests from the departments of Psychology, Educational Policy and Leadership, and Germanic Language and Literatures. We will focus our post-show discussion on Wedekind’s representation of adolescence, and how it resonates with both late 19th century Germany and the present day. Our guests will be Dr. Raymond Montemayor, Associate Professor of Psychology who specializes in adolescence and adolescent sexuality; Dr. Tracey Stuckey-Mickell, Senior Lecturer in the School of Educational Policy and Leadership, who will speak to the concerns of adolescents in modern school contexts; Dr. Helen Fehervary, Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures, who focuses on German drama and will speak not only to Wedekind’s representation of adolescence, but also the playwright’s influence on German drama; and Dr. Heide Crawford, a Senior Lecturer in the Germanic Languages and Literature department.
Sunday, February 27: Censorship and Controversy
Spring Awakening has been the center of several controversies since Wedekind wrote it in 1891. In this talkback, we will discuss the complex history of censorship surrounding this play, from the fact that it remained unperformed for 15 years after publication, to the 1917 court order banning its performance in New York, to the 1986 Toronto audience walkout due to the plays ostensible “obscenity.” Our guests will include Dr. Alan Woods, Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre, who specializes in the history of censorship; PhD student John Boyd, director of the Breaking Ground reading series on censored and banned plays; and Dr. Nina Berman, Professor in the Department of Comparative Studies, who will speak about issues in writing translations of this controversial play.
Thursday, March 3: The Tough Stuff in Spring Awakening
Spring Awakening is a play ahead of its time, not only stylistically, but also in the complex issues it addresses, including suicide and rape. At this final talkback, we will discuss these difficult issues both in the context of late 19th century Germany, when Wedekind wrote his play, and in modern-day America, where these issues are still prevalent and significant. Our guests will include Dr. Paul Granello, Associate Professor in the School of Physical Activity and Educational Services who focuses on Counselor Education and specializes in suicide prevention; Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, Assistant Professor in the School of Physical Activity and Educational Services who focuses on sexual assault prevention and school counseling; Dr. Bernd Fischer, Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures who is an expert in late 19th century German literature; and Dr. Katra Byram, Assistant Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, who focuses on late 19th century realism as well as 20th century German literature and culture.