Spring Awakening Awakens Audience Emotions


Kimmarie McCrann, Freelance Writer

It was a cold day on February 6th, 2019, but there would have been a chill in the air even if the sun was shining brightly. The students piled onto the bus, a nervous tension buzzing in and out of the conversations. They had all heard the precautionary speeches from Mr. Savastano and were prepared to witness a show like no other. It was a field trip for the performing arts students to see Spring Awakening at the new Argyle Theatre in Babylon Village.

Spring Awakening, Frank Wedekind’s dark play, was forced to close immediately after its opening night when it premiered in New York in 1917, amid cries of public outrage. This show explores controversial themes about sexual encounters, suicide, parental abuse, and teenagers transitioning into adulthood. Set in late 1800’s Germany, the show follows Melchior Gabor and his tongue-tied best friend, Moritz Stiefel, on their quest to learn the truth about human intimacy and sexual relations, in a society which believes these natural human urges are sinful and must be stopped in order to prevent “corruption.” So, the boys blindly follow the adults’ close-minded teachings. That is until Melchior meets Wendla Bergmann, the one girl who opens his eyes to everything he had been keeping hidden inside himself.

The Argyle Theatre’s production of Spring Awakening featured a relatively plain set-chalkboards lined the walls and various colored lights were projected onto screens to match the dynamic mood shifts during the show. The contemporary soundtrack featured songs with titles like “Totally F*cked” and “The B*tch of Living” which really got the audience psyched, but then heartbreaking ballads like “Left Behind” left us behind in tears.

After the show, the students had an exclusive “talk back” interview session with the cast members. We learned that over 500 people had auditioned for this one show and it was narrowed down to the 15 incredibly talented actors sitting directly in front of us. Some of the up-and-coming actors featured were Corrie Farbstein as Wendla, Alex Grayson as Melchior, and David Cronin played a striking Moritz. The questions asked by the audience included advice for pursuing theatre as a career, as well as the cast’s favorite songs to sing. They also explained how emotionally draining it can be to perform a show with such heavy themes, but it’s worthwhile because they believe show delivers a message that needs to be shared with the modern world.

It’s no wonder this production stirred rave reviews from Lindy theatre students and professional critics alike. The beautiful aftermath of our Spring Awakening field trip was how the students felt a connection to its characters, because they feel the same frustrations in their everyday lives. An electrifying performance, daring to push all the invisible boundaries we had subconsciously formed in our minds, left the audience in a stunned silence when the curtain fell at the end of the show. An awestruck silence ensued, quickly followed by a deafening roar of applause. Everyone headed back onto the bus with “songs of purple summer” running through their heads and the thrill that only comes from the experience of live theatre.