Theater department opens spring musical
On Thursday March 12, 2013, the Carroll Community College theater department opens its production of the daring coming-of-age rock musical “Spring Awakening” in the theater at the Scott Center.
The production centers around the dilemmas of adolescence and the trepidation of assimilating to a world that doesn’t make much sense.
The musical was adapted from a play written in 1891 by Frank Wedekind. It was banned in its time in its home country for Wedekind’s unwavering depiction of such still-controversial issues as rape, sexuality, suicide, child abuse, abortion, teenage angst, and abortion. One such scene involves a young man pleasuring himself fervently to the porcelain statue of a goddess while his father knocks on the door to ensure his safety and well-being.
“I think there’s going to be reactions, both positive and negative,” says actor Steven Strosnider, who plays the character Melchoir. ”The point is that it’s reactions. It’s forcing people to think. You can’t sit here and watch the show and not have an opinion.”
In the winter of 2006, “Spring Awakening” opened and made its first appearance on Broadway at the Eugene O’ Neill Theater. The original production took home eight Tony Awards and a Grammy Award for their inventive and unique cast album.
Carroll’s production, while rather more low key, is still a must-see performance.
Says Director Bill Gillett, “It’s actually an interesting departure for us. It’s a play that’s just so much about…expression. It’s a play about large feelings. It’s a play about emotion…It’s also a seven Tony award winning play that was a really great experience for theater-goers in New York and I’m hoping it’s going to be a great experience for students and faculty and staff and community here at Carroll County.”
In the beginning, before the cast even sets foot on stage, the audience is already drawn in by Gillett’s inventive set design, which is strikingly complex: a large slanted border covered with tattered grey linens that framed the stage like a picture; flashing lights; a revolving stage that the actors ance on; a piano; about a dozen chairs; and a huge tree hanging from the ceiling by thick, tangled ropes. This design hearkens back to Wedekind’s original expressionist play. The slanted border unsettles the audience and makes the entire stage seem askew – an outward reflection of the inward turmoil experienced by the characters as they begin to embrace their sexuality and accept the realities of puberty. Meanwhile the tree, constantly a symbol of the perseverance and renewal of nature, hangs stagnant from the air, as frustrated in its efforts to begin new life in the spring as the characters are at their forced separation from the opposite sex in that same, fertile time.
The cast was dressed in a varietiy of blue and grey hues to set a more serious mood. Highlighting this fact is another: when the music started to begin and the characters sung the entire stage became an illumination of greens and reds and white lights. The color of the lights set the emotion, mood, and assisted the placement of the location of the scenes.
Furthermore, a live band – set upstage from the primary action – draws attention to the musical prowess of the production while, continuing on in the expressionist vein, denying the reality of the music’s existence in the scene. The student actors themselves did a remarkable job of singing the songs required in the musical with aplomb and excellent pacing, as well as few technical errors in sound quality.
“Spring Awakening” is the annual spring musical performed by the theater department for 2013. Admission is $15 for general audiences and $10 for senior citizens, faculty, staff, and students with ID. Showtimes are on Thursday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 17 at 2:00 p.m.; Thursday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m.