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Liza Sacheli

Middlebury College Theatre Presents “Spring Awakening” April 30–May 2

April 23, 2015

Frank Wedekind’s 1891 Play Explores Sexuality, Repression, and German Society of its Time

Spring Awakening

Middlebury, VT—The Middlebury College Department of Theatre and Dance will present Frank Wedekind’s “Spring Awakening” on April 30–May 2 at Wright Memorial Theatre. Set in the sexually oppressive culture of late 19th century Germany, this provocative play explores the conflict between repressive adulthood and adolescent sexual longings. Associate Professor of Theatre Cláudio Medeiros ’90 will direct a company of 26 Middlebury students in this landmark play.

Spring Awakening garnered recent attention from a popular musical adaptation that ran on Broadway from 2006-2009, later spinning off several high-profile tours and international productions. “You may have seen the 2006 musical,” director Claudio Medeiros asks, “but do you know the original?” German dramatist Frank Wedekind wrote “Frühlings Erwachen” (Spring’s Awakening: Tragedy of Childhood) in 1891. The play explores the confusion and desperation that ensue when the onslaught of hormones meets the ignorance of children raised in a culture too embarrassed or prudish to discuss what those new urges actually signify. At once lyrical, violent, philosophical, cynical, and humorous, Wedekind’s tragicomedy remains one of the most important plays since the advent of realism and the European avant-garde. Theatre artists and scholars revere the play; in Germany, it is in its 56th edition.

Because of its unsentimental and frank treatment of adolescent sexuality, the play proved too shocking for its time, quickly earning a reputation as “pornography.” It was never performed uncensored while the author was alive. The play had its first American production in English in 1917: a single matinee under the auspices of the Medical Review of Reviews, nearly shut down by the City Commissioner of Licenses. The first complete, unadulterated performance in Britain didn’t take place until 1974.

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While the society that Wedekind critiques is vastly different from ours, “Spring Awakening” remains a challenging text in a category all its own. Medeiros notes, “Its lyricism will enrapture; the contradictions inherent in the first stirrings of sexual desire will make you laugh; and the complex, bold treatment of the shadowy waters of the adolescent psyche are bound to give you pause. Last but not least, Wedekind’s doubts about conventional morality are sure to provoke deep, uncomfortable, yet necessary questions.”

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The cast includes Nick Barker ’17, Liana Barron ’18, Kevin Benscheidt ’17, Ben Borgmann-Winter ’18, Michael Brady ’16.5, Caitlin Duffy ’15.5, Emma Eastwood-Paticchio ’15, Nolan Ellsworth ’17, Elliott Miller ’18, Kean Haunt ’17, Alex Herdman ’17, Akhila Khanna ’17, Sebastian LaPointe ’18, Zac Lounsbury ’16, Chelsea Melone ’15, Joelle Mendoza-Etchart ’15, Adam Milano ’15, Mitchell Perry ’16, Connor Pisano ’18, Jackson Prince ’17, Quincy Simmons ’18, and Connor Wright ’18. The production team includes students Tosca Giustini ’15 as assistant director, Katy Svec ’15 as stage manager/dramaturg, Anna Parker ’15.5 and Ella Rohm-Ensing ’18 as assistant stage managers, and David Brockington ’17 as sound designer. Faculty and staff include set designer Hallie Zieselman, light designer Mark Evancho, costume designer Mira Veikley, technical director and props master Jim Dougherty, costume director Marcia Provoncha, associate costume director Annie Ulrich ’13, and technical support by Allison Rimmer.

Please note that “Spring Awakening” addresses complex issues of sexuality, violence, and suicide that may be difficult for some audience members. This production is for mature audiences only.

“Spring Awakening” will be performed at 7:30 P.M on Thursday, April 30; Friday, May 1, and Saturday, May 2, 2015 at Wright Memorial Theatre, on the campus of Middlebury College. There will be post-show discussions with the cast and crew following each evening’s show; refreshments will be served on Friday night only. Wright Theatre is located at 96 Chateau Road in Middlebury, just off Route 125. Free parking is available on Route 125, on Old Chapel Road, and in the College parking lot of Shannon Street, with handicap-accessible parking available on Chateau Road. Tickets are $12 for the general public; $10 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For tickets or information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to


Photo captions:

Jackson Prince ’17 and Adam Milano ’15 in “Spring Awakening,” to be performed April 30-May 2 at Wright Theatre, photo by Teddy Anderson ’13.5

Connor Wright ’18, Kean Haunt ’17, Kevin Benscheidt ’17, Ben Borgmann-Winter ’18, Adam Milano ’15, and Michael Brady ’17.5 in “Spring Awakening,” to be performed April 30-May 2 at Wright Theatre, photo by Teddy Anderson ’13.5

Adam Milano ’15 and Jackson Prince ’17 in “Spring Awakening,” to be performed April 30-May 2 at Wright Theatre, photo by Teddy Anderson ’13.5

Mahaney Center for the Arts
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax