Spring Awakening - An Interview with the Director
Tell us what Spring Awakening is about…
Spring Awakening is the story of a group of youth (ages 15-17) in 1890's Germany struggling with coming of age in a time of great ignorance and secrecy. While the youth grapple with their questions, the adults in their lives refuse to answer and even worse, chastise them for asking. As we have worked on this show, we have talked a lot about what communication means and the responsibility we have to educate our youth. Spring Awakening shows the devastation that can happen when we stay mired in ignorance. This production juxtaposes the youth of 1890's Germany (informationally the parent generation of the Nazi party) with the youth of today.
What about Spring Awakening made you decide to direct it?
I wanted to direct Spring Awakening because I believe it is very important and relevant to the current world climate. I think that it is important to have a reminder of what can happen in the world when our adults do not promote education and leadership in our youth and in fact at times, tear them down when they try to step forward. As the mother of an 8 year old son, I think it is important that we work towards helping people understand our responsibility to the future. I also really wanted to direct this show because the music is beautiful and it is very meaningful piece to a lot of people.
What will the audience most enjoy?
The audiences will very much enjoy the music and the vocal work that the cast has done. They sound amazing and their voices really fill the space. I think the audiences will also enjoy being able to use this performance as a jumping off point for conversations surrounding the responsibilities that we have to our community and our youth.
What genre of music is in the show?
The music is rock/pop based.
Why do you think more people don't know about this musical?
It is not one of the traditional musicals and being newer, it does not have as much name recognition as some of our longer standing musicals. That being said, never say that to the die- hard fans that are numerous! It is a very important piece of theater that has had a great impact on our younger population of theater artists. I think that the topics it hits are hard and not the general topics that most musicals touch on. Seeing Spring Awakening is a wonderful opportunity to see musicals as cultural commentary in a modern age.
Did the cast have to prepare for their roles in a way that was different from other musicals?
There is a lot of emotion that goes into this show that may not be part of a traditional musical process. There is adult language, situations, and costuming that has pushed them out of their comfort zone. They have had to build a lot of trust as a team as there are often powerful outbursts of emotion during our rehearsal process. I have had to make sure that I remember, not only my role as director, but also my role as care taker as they work through the challenges that I have thrown at them.
Is there anything else you'd like people to know about the show?
I think it is very important that people know that they are coming into a show where we will challenge them with difficult situations and emotions. This is not a light musical by any stretch of the imagination but I assure they audience that they will leave feeling a deep connection to what they experienced. I would remind people that this is not a family friendly show.
How does the use of sign language add to the production?
At auditions I had a wonderful opportunity to see the work of an actor who is deaf. I was blown away by his physical ability to tell a story and knew he was right for our show. As this show is about communications and breakdowns in communication, it became an important conversation, what is the difference between listening and hearing. As part of the legacy that is Spring Awakening, there is a well-known production that was put on by Deaf West Theater Company that broke new ground with creating deaf theater for both a deaf and hearing audience. We give them a nod to their work but also believe that our production shows that barriers are only barriers until you find creative ways to address them.