Sex takes the stage at the Grand Theatre’s McManus Studio this week, as Theatre Western presents the contentious, award-winning play, Spring Awakening.
Following the success of last fall’s gripping production of The Laramie Project — which went on to be featured in the Toronto Fringe Festival this past summer— Theatre Western has taken on another controversial work this year. Spring Awakening is a daring play to say the least, as it presents teenage self-discovery, growth and sexual oppression in its most uncomfortable and awe-inspiring forms. The play touches on sensitive issues such as masturbation, abortion, suicide and abuse — nothing is off-limits for the production that was deemed offensive, obscene and pornographic after its first run in 1906.
Wendla, one of the main characters, cannot seem to understand where babies come from. She questions her mother, who deems the situation inappropriate and awkward and ignores her.
Elsewhere, Melchior defends his friend Moritz who speaks out against the rigid nature of school and is struck with a stick by his teacher. Wendla and Melchoir accidentally meet in a forest and instantly feel the pangs of love for each other.
Nicole D’Alessandro, Theatre Western co-ordinator, believes the play hits home. Although written by German dramatist Frank Wedekind in 1890, the issues of sex, love, violence and great expectations are still relevant over a century later as they are things many teenagers experience as they enter into adulthood. Spring Awakening explores these issues in such a unique way that the story is sad, disturbing and funny all at once.
“Many of the issues [in the play] still have not been resolved in today’s society. Sexuality is still often treated as taboo and the pressures from parents and teachers are still overwhelming — often to the breaking point,” D’Alessandro explains. “I really believe that theatre is a powerful medium to initiate discussion and bring about change.”
With this powerful medium, Theatre Western’s production of Spring Awakening promises to bring back these important and sometimes painful memories.
Tickets are now on sale for Spring Awakening, which starts Nov. 26 and runs until Nov. 28. Shows are 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 28. Tickets are $10 for students or $15 for the general public. They are sold at InfoSource and can be purchased online at www.grandtheatre.com. Please note the show is rated 14+ due to its mature subject matter.