The Uncomfortable Beauty of Spring Awakening


The Springfield Theatre Center’s production of Spring Awakening was remarkable, emotionally draining, and a must-see at The Hoogland Center for the Arts. While this show in particular features a small cast, the presentation felt larger than life with a diverse collection of incredibly talented individuals, including recent UIS graduate Sherri Mitchell. One aspect in particular that felt extremely personal and well-structured was the choreography that was crafted alongside the story.

Each movement felt visceral and connected back to the idea of intimacy and touch that is so deeply threaded throughout the story. Spring Awakening deals with a lot of uncomfortable and emotional issues, and therefore demands a lot from its actors. The cast did not disappoint and was able to illustrate a tragically beautiful story about the difficulties surrounding sexual identity/ expression, love, and trying to grow up as a confused young teen.

Spring Awakening takes place in 19th century Germany and tackles a variety of difficult subjects like suicide, abuse, rape, depression, abortion, and the continual struggle surrounding the exploration and understanding of one’s sexuality. Through its consideration of each of these issues, the show teaches audiences the danger of censoring young people from inevitable issues they will face later in life.

The main character, Wendla, is unaware of where children come from and uninformed about sex in general, despite asking her mother many times about it. When she falls in love with a childhood friend, Melchior, she is unsure how to navigate the relationship and her sexual urges. Later on in the play, she is coerced into having sex with Melchior, who is very familiar with sex and sexuality, and takes advantage of her ignorance whether or not he recognizes it. She later becomes pregnant, unware that it could be a consequence of having sex, and dies after receiving a botched abortion at the request of her mother.While this show takes place in a world that feels unfamiliar and far away from today’s reality, it is now more important than ever for young people to watch this musical.

Spring Awakening teaches audiences that it is not only imperative, but also completely normal, to talk about things that seem uncomfortable in order to learn and to educate each other. While the show was very