Written by Frank Wedekind, Adapted by Toby Bercovici and Emily Denison, Directed by Toby Bercovici
A new adaptation of an expressionist masterpiece comes to Looking Glass Theatre. Spring Awakening: A Sin of Omission - adapted by Toby Bercovici and Emily Denison, directed by Toby Bercovici - highlights the youthful, energized, shockingly modern aspects of Frank Wedekind’s original 1891 script, with a lean, poetic version of the text.
Wedekind’s play was years ahead of its time—so far ahead that it wasn’t produced till 15 years after its composition, and has been frequently banned ever since. The play condemned the era’s repressed and repressive culture of 19th-century Germany by showing its toxic effect on the lives of several 14-year-olds: Wendla, whose mother can’t bring herself to tell her daughter the facts of sex, with tragic results; Martha, abused by her strait-laced, hypocritical father; brilliant Melchior, whose rebellious nature infuriates his pompous schoolmasters; Moritz, whose poor test scores make him want to kill himself; and Hansy and Ernst, two boys who find safety and comfort in each other.
Bercovici says the issues raised in the play, which scandalized theatergoers 100 years ago, still resonate today: adolescent sexuality (gay and straight), rape, abortion, suicide, child abuse. “Puberty is still a violent, depressing, strange period. It still doesn’t ‘work.’ Suicides, anti-depressants, bullying, sex when kids have no idea what it is—all that still exists, probably more now than it did then.”
This adaptation, first produced at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is performed by nine extraordinary young actors playing 24 roles. It features dances by choreographer Madelyne Camera, in which a painting comes to life, joyful children turn into tyrannically inept professors, and a ghost dances a gruesome, melancholy duet with his severed head.