Saturday, April 1, 2017

EMU Theatre production of Spring Awakening illuminates the darkness.

The Eastern Michigan University Theatre production of Spring Awakening opened to a mostly packed house Friday evening in the Quirk Theatre located on central campus. I am certain that everyone who saw the performance left the theatre deeply moved. Directed by Pirooz Aghssa  and based on the 1891 play by German playwright Frank Wedekind, Spring Awakening is a story of the darker side of life for young people, particularly teenagers, though people of all ages can relate to this story.

At the heart of the play are the characters Wendla, beautifully played Lindsey Scheidler, and Melchior, excellently played by Brendan Kelly. Wendla is a teenage girl searching to feel and really experience life. Melchior is also on a quest to find love, connection and humanity. Both characters are lost in a cold, rigid parental world and are at the mercy of dominating and seemingly unfeeling parents.

The play is doused in teenage angst, beatings, loneliness, pain, sexual desire and perhaps most importantly,  isolation. Tough stuff. This is for mature audiences only and for good reason. Situations  in life don't always have a happy ending. The content of the play is intense as the issues of rape, abortion and suicide are illustrated honestly and addressed in an uncomfortably realistic manner. I'm sure some of the scenes cut very close to home for many in the audience. It was apparent that there were those in the audience who were moved to tears. But that is exactly what good theater moves us. That is why we go, we go to the theater to be moved.

We live in a the sanitized world of facebook, but in reality life is messy, very messy. EMU's remarkable production of Spring Awakening reminds us that we are not alone when it comes to lifes darker realities.

Performances will be in the Quirk Theater April 1, 6, 7, 8 at 7pm and April 2 & 9 at 2pm.  More information can be found here.

Jeff Brown
founder & editor
Purple Walrus Press.

Spring Awakening. Eastern Michigan University.

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