By Judi Curry
Following our breakfast at O’Hungry’s, Irene and I left Ro and went up to Ft. Rosecrans to visit our husbands. Irene made the comment that the only good thing about our husbands passing was that we met each other. When it is our time to leave this earth, Irene and I will be only a few rows apart and will be able to still converse with each other.
Following our visit to the cemetery, we went back to Old Town to the Cygnet Theatre to see the play Spring Awakening. Ro was the House Manager on this particular day and could not watch the play with us but will see it at a later time.
Spring Awakening is a winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical. It is based on a play that was originally written in 1891, but it is so contemporary it could have been written in our time. Since the play has already been critiqued many times, and I do not profess to be a critic of live drama, I will copy what the program had to say about the play.
“ . . . Frank Wedekind’s play ….his exploration of the difficult path of adolescence is as frank and honest as if it had been written today. This brilliant musical adaptation has received resounding devotion from young people around the world precisely because it is so honest. The youth of Wedekind’s 1891 and the youth of today share the opportunity to voice their world to us. As their world changes around them, every day seems like a life-test to the kids of Spring Awakening.
Listen to them and remember back to those first days of crushes, attraction, rebellion, discovery and confusion. That passionate first love, or those darker feelings of isolation and alienation are overwhelming. As a society, we still struggle with teenage suicide, unwanted pregnancies, high expectations and terrible peer pressure. These kids are asking us, begging us, to hear them. To guide them.” (Sean Murray, Artistic Director).
This play had everything – including the one item not mentioned above – that of homosexuality. It looks at life more from a male standpoint than from a female one, but encompasses the tremendous feelings of youth everywhere. The adults in Spring Awakening leave something to be desired. Not their acting but their persona– from the daughter who asks her mother to explain how her sister had two children “ . . . surely mama you do not think that I believe in the stork!” and is given an answer that is less than satisfactory – “love brings babies on”, to the two running the school that dislike one of the students so much that they make it difficult for him to continue his life. Taylor Wycoff in his summary of the play states that “being a teenager sucks. Big Time. Everything is important; the stakes are always life or death.”
There is no question that this play is very controversial because of the subject matter. There are love scenes that would make my mother blush – yeah, she was a prude. There is a homosexual scene that is truly that – no innuendo’s about the theme. There is a scene when physical and sexual abuse is discussed between two young ladies to the point that you cringe as the discussion ensues. And the remarkable thing is that all of this is done in song. The harmony is excellent and only a few times did the live band – behind the curtain – drown out the players.
But the play, in my opinion – and Irene’s also – is that it is tastefully performed, with a solid pack of actors. And it should be pointed out that the probable age of all the actors/actresses combined can’t be more than 25, and that is because there are two actors slightly older than their fellow players. During intermission I talked to the woman sitting next to me – a director in Los Angeles here to watch her nephew act in this play – and she felt that the casting was good; that the players were superb. In the restroom after the play I asked the women standing in line what they thought of the play. To a woman they liked it and even expressed the feeling that if we don’t get in touch with youth today we will end up just as the characters in this play.
It should also be noted that this play is restricted to PG-13 because of the mature theme and brief nudity, sexual situation and explicit language. But once you get over the initial surprise of the show, you can’t help but be enthralled by the acting, the topic and the music.
The run is over on April 27th. I’d like to suggest you get to the Cygnet as soon as possible. You don’t want to miss this A+ show. And again, I am not a critic of live theater but I know what I like. I liked Spring Awakening.
4040 Twiggs Street
San Diego, CA 92110