Tuesday night I had the pleasure of being treated by the ever-fabulous @darcybl to Spring Awakening, a new musical set in 1890 Germany examining the essential problems created between adults and teens when their burgeoning sexuality is treated as a moral problem rather than a human condition. I had absolutely no idea what to expect except that I knew it had been banned for many years and was about "emerging sexuality" and I was absolutely blown away.
The story begins first with the town's group of teen girls, then the teen boys, singing their frustration with the adults in their life who refuse to tell them things, expect them to believe everything they are told and basically treat them in ways they find frustrating. The boys, we are led to believe, have it worse as they are beaten by their school master and overwhelmed by schoolwork while the girls seemingly have much more leisure time and freedom.
As the musical continues, the main story revolves around two young friends who become lovers. The girl is entirely innocent about sexual matters, as her mother, despite her pleading, has refused to tell her how babies are made, while the boy, who has been left to his own devices, has found out all about the physical act of sex through books. The two other main storylines follow a beaten-down, depressed who is toying with the idea of suicide as he is tortured by lustful thoughts that keep him from sleeping and succeeding in school and the other is a gay teen who knows the game well enough to play along and to get what he wants at the same time.
One of my favorite songs was "The Bitch of Living" [embedded video below]:
All of the songs were well-written and beautifully performed. Some of my favorite tricks they used during songs was to use the singing as if it were the internal dialogue of the character happening in between bits of conversation going on around him/her.
The teen angst might be too much for some, but I thought it was an appropriate measure of just how frustrating being a teen is when people are trying to keep you ignorant of your body and consider sex to be a bad word and a forbidden topic. Overall, it inspired me to keep up the fight for kids to have science-based sex ed and to keep in mind just how many totally unnecessary problems are created for society and people when that isn't present.
Spring Awakening is a lot of fun, heartfelt and an unusual mix of new and old. The show's only in town until Sunday, so hurry up and see it while it's here!
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