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“Spring Awakening”: An adaptive coming of age

Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro

Managing Editor

Photo via Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro

The set of “Spring Awakening” seems as if there is a title misnomer, as there is no indication of Spring or of any awakenings. The title is a metaphor of sorts, weaving a modern adaptation of an old coming of age story.

RIC’s “Spring Awakening” is an adaptation of the 1891 play that goes by the same title. Originally written by Frank Wedekind and revitalized with a rock music score, “Spring Awakening” takes place in 19th century Germany and weaves the tale of teenagers discovering their sexuality.

Having no one to rely on but their friends, both male and female, to aid their respective journeys, a “RENT” vibe adds a certain “je ne sais quois” to the story.

During this play, we follow Melchior, portrayed by Matt Macy, a brilliant secondary school student, and Wendla, portrayed by Abby McGough, a naive childhood friend, as they navigate their feelings for each other, their sexual feelings for each other, and physical curiosity. Also told is the tale of Moritz, portrayed by Alex LeBlanc, also a secondary school student, who is plagued with night terrors regarding living up to societal and educational expectations.

We watch as various characters get slapped by their parents, or each other for pleasure, and we witness the bruising and welting of Martha, portrayed by Olivia Lancellotta, as she opens up to her friends about her father beating her with a belt buckle. Stories of Ilse, portrayed by Emma Mckay, are told, coupled with fears for her safety and wellbeing, as it is unknown where she may be after running away.

“Spring Awakening” gives off some major “Les Miserables” vibes with respect to the characters wanting so desperately to change the world. Melchior dreams of a day where boys and girls can attend school together, and of days when freethinkers like himself do not have to comply with mainstream thought. He dreams of Wendla and what it would be like to explore her body and of days when the church does not dictate all thought.

Without giving away too many plot details, “Spring Awakening” explores the issues of discovering who you are sexually, losing your virginity, gay love, abuse, suicide and even pregnancy and abortion. This is without a doubt, a heavy, but spirited play.

The RIC Theatre Department did a brilliant job performing this award-winning play. The vocals were on point and very complimentary. The cast worked so well together and it’s obvious that this cast spent a lot of time rehearsing, as the blocking for movements was as smooth as frosting on a cake.

Even though this play is a little on the controversial side, it is a must-see for anyone ranging from a serious Broadway fan to the average local theater lover.

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