First performed under heavy censorship in Germany in 1906, Frank Wedekind’s play closed after one night amid public outrage and charges of obscenity. The radical content—which traces teenagers in their painfully funny contradictions of innocence—remains fresh and unsettling even in our own sex-saturated culture.
Far from the popular romanticized rock musical version of the show, this production stays true to Wedekind’s treatment of youth: unsentimental and brutally authentic. Wedekind treats his child characters like fascinating little animals – flawed, adorable, dangerous, silly. They fall far to either side of the safe teen middle ground of coolness and righteousness. They’re at once unbearably innocent, unbearably corrupt, and completely without answers.
Using Jonathan Franzen’s thrilling and definitive translation, Spring Awakening is even more of a disturbance and a reproach to contemporary pieties than it was a century ago.
No one is sure. No one is right. Every one is to blame.