Spring Awakening theatre western

Rating: 4/5 

Go to school. Get good grades. Be a good son/daughter. Don't have sex until you're married. Don't question authority. Be good or you’ll be punished.

Theatre Western’s Spring Awakening, based on Frank Wedekind's play, was performed Thursday in the Mustang Lounge. The play tells the story of a group of high school students trying to make sense of their sexual awakenings in an ultra conservative and dogmatic society that wishes nothing more than to shelter them and rob them of their free will. 

Directed and choreographed by Raffie Rosenberg, the teachers and parents view critical thinking as radical and act as gatekeepers to the answers the students seek about their changing bodies.

Woven with humorous quips and songs such as Bitch of Living, displaying the discovery of wet dreams, and Totally Fucked, displaying the thoughts we have when backed into a corner, this is a tear-jerking and riveting story led by a couple of boys who don't quite fit in.

Moritz (Jack Phoenix) is a lazy boy barely getting by in his studies. Already struggling, he finds himself plagued with thoughts and feelings that confuse him, including the woman in stockings who fills his dreams with lust. Phoenix displays the perfect amount of apathy on-stage. Slouching in every class and rolling with the hits that life deals him, he demonstrates a reluctant desire for sexual enlightenment.

His friend, Melchoir (Benjamin Braz), has all the answers. He's that mature friend who told us about sex and showed us porn. Unlike the rest of their society, his parents let him be free and critical — he is a radical. Braz portrays the cool kid in high school; he fits the status quo in in-class scenes, but still retains a rebellious edge.

The acting pulls in the audience, making viewers feel what they feel, as if they know the characters as friends.

My Junk had couples dancing across stage as they sung, representing innocent high school relationships. As the song progressed, there were many transitions between groups of cast that added humourous bits among the feelings of nostalgia.

Touch Me really stood out as unique and moving; the lead's singing voice was a gift to the ears. The cast involved in the song were on point with every musical beat, the song symbolizing one's discovery of sex. At times, the teachers seemed to act a bit too intense or a bit too whimsical, but only momentarily before returning to their typical selves.

The choreography was fitting to each and every song and the coordination was nearly flawless, properly presenting frustration, lust, discovery and awakening.

Overall, the play was a fantastic piece to perform for the student audience. It really was a testament to the importance of sexual education, the problems associated with its absence and the value of critical thought in an otherwise uniform society.

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Ellis is a Culture Editor for Volume 110 of the Gazette. He is a fourth-year Sociology student intent on pursuing a career in journalism. If you wish to reach Ellis, email him at ellis@westerngazette.ca

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