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Spring Awakening | Web Update

Spring Awakening gets positive reaction from audience and actors

Published: April 23, 2013, 5:42 pm ET
Alyssa Gunville / The Collegian
The Cast of 'Spring Awakening' rehearses before their opening night.
Collegian Reporter

The department of theatre and dance’s production of “Spring Awakening” garnered a positive reaction from audience members while presenting artistic challenges for student-actors.

“Spring Awakening,” which showed five times from Thursday, April 18 to Sunday, April 21, is a Tony Award-winning play about a group of young people growing up in 19th century Germany. The play showcases the challenges that are often a trademark of adolescence.

With provocative themes such as teen pregnancy, abuse and suicide, student-actors faced new challenges in performing “Spring Awakening,” which debuted on Broadway in 2006.

Senior Camden Cantwell played Melchior, a young character known for his wisdom and ability to understand the repression facing his generation. Cantwell said the production had served as an opportunity for him and many other cast members to become better actors because of the challenging subject matter.

“Dealing with onstage nudity and the possible negative reaction to it was something that took a lot of rehearsal and trust,” Cantwell said.

Dorothy Holland, the production’s director, said she did not expect the content to shock college students, but could understand some audience members being surprised. Sophomore Krissy Muncan agreed after viewing the musical.

“I don’t think it was shocking because our generation is prone to seeing these racy issues,” Muncan said. “We see images related to things like sexuality and abuse more openly than older generations.”

Like Muncan, senior Frances Sisson said she had not been especially surprised by the controversial themes. Sisson said she had been entertained by the performance and impressed by the department of theatre and dance’s ability to pull together such a sophisticated production. She was especially impressed with the lighting, she said.

The lighting was highly involved in the production’s plot because it changed each time the story shifted from the “child” world to the “adult” world.

Junior Emily Brewster, who played Ilse, said one of her favorite elements of the performance had been the lighting.

“Once the the lights were added, I had never been more excited for a show,” Brewster said.

The lighting and set design were two of Holland’s favorite elements of “Spring Awakening,” she said. However, the best part of the performance had been the music, she said.

The soundtrack keeps with the controversial themes, including titles such as “Touch Me” and “Totally F**cked.”

Cantwell said he thought the performances had gotten stronger as the weekend went on, and that the cast wished they had another week of performances.

“If there’s one thing I’m going to miss, it’s pretending to be a rock star and screaming ‘Totally F**ked’ every night,” Cantwell said. “What’s better than a bunch of young people letting loose and moshing to some rock ‘n roll? I’d do this show every night for a long time if I could.”

Contact reporter Molly Gentzel at molly.gentzel@richmond.edu

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