When my girlfriend asked me if I wanted to see a theatre show over the weekend, I promptly answered yes. One of the things about having small kids, it's much more work to figure out how to go see adult theatre. Since I'm kid free for another week or so, why not?
After brunching at Level One in Dupont Circle (hello, bottomless mimosas!), we headed over to The Keegan Theatre to see their current show, Spring Awakening. My friend Marcy, who invited me to the show, and I had no idea what the musical was about. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Spring Awakening's music was written by Duncan Sheik. Hubby and I were fan of his back in our college days
Spring Awakening was a huge hit and won a ton of Tony Awards in 2007. The musical is based off an old German drama of the same name. Set at the turn of the 1900s in Germany, each person's roles in society were set and no one ever talked about love or sex. The musical centers around the adolescent children of this small town as they navigate their new found feelings and physical urges. Without the knowledge they seek and the knowledge their parents are afraid to share, the children stumble in their search.
Like all musicals, the children broke out into songs in between scenes. The difference in Spring Awakening is that the songs are rock songs. The actors pull microphones out of the pocket of their knickers while they sing and dance like rock stars. The microphones are quickly stashed away after each number.
I loved the show's music and the actors in the performance were very talented. I just couldn't get past the discordance of the costumes and settings versus the rock music. I just couldn't invoke my suspension of disbelief to see the actors dressed in period costumes singing such modern music. Even the choreography during the numbers were very modern. If you want to see what I mean, watch the video above from the original cast's performance on the 2007 Tony Awards. Oh and the female lead is Lea Michelle from Glee.
Perhaps the disparity between the turn of the century setting and the modern setting is meant to make the audience uncomfortable. If you think about it, these kids in the 1900 were really young, probably 10-14 years old. Just like the pre-teens and teens of today, they want to know what's happening with their bodies as they hit puberty. They want to know where babies come from (see song "Mama Who Bore Me"). Yet the adults are uncomfortable talking about sex and baby making because they fear the knowledge will cause the kids to go out and try. Sounds like today, right?
We, as audience members, might become too comfortable and start to think of Spring Awakening as something that happened long ago. The rock music, the microphones, and the modern choreography are there to remind us that teens of 2012 have the right to know about sexuality, their sexuality. Even today, society and adults are still uncomfortable with talking about sex, sexually transmitted diseases, and contraception.
If you're interested in seeing Spring Awakening at The Keegan Theatre, it runs until July 8. Visit their website for ticket info.
Thanks for my friend Marcy for inviting me to see the show. Thanks to my friend Alexis, who is the show's stage manager, for the tickets! All opinions are my own. The Keegan Theatre has no idea who I am or that I wrote about them!