- “Spring Awakening,” just given new life by a group of
very talented, brave, creative students at Carroll University
last weekend, was a smashing success.
controversial musical, which was inspired by a German play
that was banned in 1890, first opened in 2006 when it began to
be shown sparingly to limited audiences. It won eight Tony
Awards in 2008, but continues to raise some people’s
innocuous title is a bit deceiving, for it conjures up sweet
romancing, bouquets of spring daisies and one’s first kiss.
But this show explores the adolescent experience in a very
repressive Germany at the end of the 19th century and the
strong sexual desires that troubled and mystified young people
when puberty disrupted their lives. Besides their emotional,
psychological and physical turmoil, they also dealt with
abuse, failure, rejection, ignorance and the unrealistic
expectations of society. All of this with little guidance and
understanding on the part of parents and teachers.
story highlights the inadequacy of sex education, the demand
for unquestioning obedience to adults, the seemingly
unbridgeable gap between generations and the agonizing search
for meaning with which every young person struggles.
show involves a cast of 13, but most of the focus is on four
characters - Melchior, Moritz, Wendla and Ilse. All of the
adult roles, most of which were unsympathetic, were handled
well by Abbi Hess and Brandon Koster. The minor roles played
by Mark Ehlke, Andrea Klohn, Kali Marcino, Josiah McKenna,
Chris Meissner, Jake Schertz and Francesca Steitz were all
executed with skill and enthusiasm.
best actor award goes to Sam Burns for his incredible
portrayal of Melchior. He brought intelligence, nuance and
depth to his role. Peter Burress as Moritz also deserves
notice for his intensity. We suffered with him all along the
two female leads were worthy also, but not quite as strong.
The strongest scenes for Amy Majeskie as Wendla were her last
ones with her mother and the final one as she is led to the
doctor, and for Montana Mariscal as Ilse, her playful,
nostalgic one with Moritz.
of the most fascinating aspects of this show is the
juxtaposition of 19th- century costumes and customs with hard
rock music. The disconnect emphasizes the universality of the
struggle of how to deal with one’s sexuality and
individuality in a world that stresses conformity and
compliance. Times change, but human nature does not.
graphic language and explicit sexuality were handled with
honesty and taste. The choreography, music, lighting and set
design all were executed by students under the direction of
Ryan Albrechtson, a sophomore with talent and great promise.
extensive student involvement in this show is very impressive.
I commend all those who participated and gave us such a