Spring Awakening’ touches on life’s big questions

Spring Awakening' touches on life's big questions

by Sam Dearden/Staff Writer

The Simpson College Theatre Department is presenting “Spring Awakening” in Pote Theatre March 26-27 at 7:30 p.m. and on March 28 at 1 p.m.

Written in the late 19th century, “Spring Awakening” touches on themes of rape, homosexuality and teen pregnancy. It also focuses on the disconnection between parents and children.

Sophomore Lindsey Oetken characterizes one main character, 14-year-old Wendla Bergmann, as “very passionate, curious, caring and naïve.” 

“I feel that I can relate to her in some ways,” Oetken said. “I think everyone has had those moments, especially during their teen years when they have big questions and they want them answered. There are times when I still feel very naive about the way the world works, and when my eyes are finally opened it can be a very scary thing.”

Another main character, Melchior Gabor, is described as a philosopher who is very passionate about everything he takes on in life.

“He is very friendly, flirtatious, arrogant, scared, curious, basically everything teens go through,” senior Kyle Bochart said. “I relate to him in those aspects…ultimately I think there is a dark side to everyone no matter what, and this play has forced me to sort of face my demons and bring them out.”

The ability to relate to the themes and the overall feel of the play was what made some cast members so interested in trying out.

“One of the main reasons that made me interested in ‘Spring Awakening’ was how much it related to life today and in high school,” senior Caleb Carver said. “Even though it was written in 1890, the issues that it raises are still topics that are important in today’s society. These issues need to be taken seriously and it is scary that children have to experience them.”

Bringing those issues to life was a process that both the actors and the director experienced.

“Directing is an organic process that allows you to make discoveries daily,” Director Ann Woldt, associate professor of theatre arts, said. “It is a truly creative process. Sharing this process with the actors and designers is what makes theater such an exciting medium.”

The actors who appear in the production hope that the audience is able to understand the themes that are portrayed. They also hope that the audience goes a step further and is able to make the connection to their own lives and their own childhoods.

“There are many themes such as teen angst, teen pregnancy, homosexuality and suicide that can be very impactful, and it is my hope that the audience can take from those themes what they want and then relate it back to their own lives,” Oetken said. “That’s really what is important, that each individual derives what they need to from the play and relate it back to themselves.” 

The writing style of “Spring Awakening” makes this play particularly special to the cast.

“This is one I am excited about because it’s a very dark play, yet it has some beautiful humor and some very poignant poetic lines as well,” Bochart said. “It really is just a beautiful piece of literature. Disturbing, but beautiful.”