Spring Awakening is really a very old expressionist/absurdist play by Frank Wedekind produced by Max Reinhardt at the Deutsches
Theater in Berlin in 1906. It may be dated, but it is really timeless. It has been produced in New York, on and off Broadway, and in
London. The play has even made it to TV.
Christopher Cook directs it with a very modern spirit, and exciting musical score with elaborate costumes and dances. The theater
itself is a new creation too, called the Grange Performing Arts Center in what was the Grange Hall on 3823 V Street.
The play has some content that is erotic, like masturbation under a spotlight, and fornication on a settee. But it is not distracting or
offensive, because that is what the play is about. Sexual awakening of the youth. There are 16 actors, mostly youthful. They are very
repressed German youth, pre Hitler, in a very strict school. Fortunately there are no political overtones of the German state’s typical
manipulation of its youth. Each boy has a different and very personal, even charming, way of dicovering manhood, trying out
various life-enhancing strategies… all of it out on stage. And each girl has her day in the sun too.
There is a lot of soulfull singing, solo and in ensemble, in mostly cheerful operetta style. The vocal quality is as good or better than
Glee, and the orchestra is of concert quality, directed by Elaine Lord.
Parts of the play are quite tragic with one suicide on the darkened stage and an incarceration for what us moderns might now find i
nsubstantial.. The rest of the play works itself out in a rather complicated way. The torrent of dialogue is very interesting. You feel for
each of them, as though they were your own family. The second act, however, is quite long and taxing of one’s memory.
Fortunately there is a dramaturge article on wikipedia which gives a detailed description of each character, the plot, act by act, a
choice list of book and article references, and a study guide. I suggest you read it before watching the play.
I would call ahead for tickets as this is the last weekend. 916-736-2664. Saturday at 8 PM, and Sunday at 7 PM. Parking is pretty
good on neighborhood’s residential streets. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students. This is definitely a play to take your high
school youth, and young adult relatives. They will really like it.
Future Green Valley shows are Bullshot Crummond, April 27-May 20, and the Rocky Horror Show October 12-Halloween.