Jeremy Seghers invited me to go to a rehearsal for "Spring Awakening" written by Frank Wedekind. The reading took place at the offices of Broadway Across America right near Lake Eola. When I walked into the conference room where the rehearsal was to take place, I was surprised at how many of the actors were high school aged. Everyone introduced themselves around the table and talked about what shows they had last been in. Many of the students were working on a production of "Rent" for the Fringe and many also all seemed to be putting on a high school production of "Moby Dick."
As we all waited for the last of the actors to arrive, Sean, picked up his green water bottle and the cap flopped off spilling his water all over the table. He jumped up screaming and apologizing as he ran into the next room looking for paper towels. He had been nervously talking to Sarah who was wearing a loose low cut shirt that made her look like she had just come from a job as a bar maid. His comical timing and actions were worthy of Chaplin. Everyone burst into laughter. When the reading started the mood grew more serious. Spring Awakening deals with a group of German students who for the first time face their sexuality and passions. One scene between a daughter, Wendla, played by Sarah Villegas and her mom,Frau Bergmann, played by Nicki Darden was both humorous and sad. The daughter wanted her mom to explain how babies are born. Although the mom wanted to tell he daughter everything, she found herself unable to.
FRAU BERGMANN: Come here, child, come here, I'll tell you! I'll tell you everything--... In order to have a child -- one must love -- the man -- to whom one is married -- love him, I tell you -- as one can only love a man! One must love him so much with one's whole heart, so -- so that one can't describe it! One must love him, Wendla, as you at your age are still unable to love -- Now you know it!
In the next act the daughter finds herself in a hay loft with a boy and then ultimately pregnant.
In another scene Sean Flinn contemplated a painting by Palma Veccio titled Venus. His impassioned plea to this goddess was so lascivious as to make any audience member blush. This play has often been banned for its sharp, pointed look at the hypocrisy of a society that felt that children should grow up ignorant of their sexuality. The play also deals with very serious issues of rape and suicide. The language in the original play is beautiful. Originally staged in 1906, the play is amazingly contemporary. In 2006 the play was bought brought to Broadway, this time as a musical by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater.
This reading of Spring Awakening is a joint venture between Heidi Dog Productions and Kangagirl Productions. This reading will be a continuation of a series of "Queer Quills" readings. You can see this staged reading on April 18th at 7:00 PM at the Breakthrough Theater (421 West Fairbanks Avenue Winter Park). A suggested $5 donation will benefit the Paul Wegman Scholarship for actors at Valencia Community College.