Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

Spring Awakening by Promethean Theatre Ensemble

By Frank Wedekindspring awakening, promethean theatre

Adapted and directed by Stephen F. Murray

Produced by Promethean Theatre Ensemble

At The Artistic Home, Chicago

Intense retelling of  Wedekind’s coming of age tale packs a wallop!

Director and adapter Stephan F. Murray has mounted an emotionally rich production of the 1891 coming of age tale of German youth.  His cast of nine don Comedia Del Arte masks when portraying adults. He also presents the adults as uncaring, clueless buffoons with no sensitivity towards teens.

spring awakening, promethean theatre

Based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial ground-breaking play, Spring Awakening (the non-musical) is an intense story about the inter feeling of teenagers as they move into adolescence.  Teens struggle with their quest for personal identity, sexual desires and independence of thought.  The six teens here are at odds with their parents and their authoritarian teachers.

spring awakening, promethean theatre

Melchor (Nick Lake) is an intellectual who struggles with both his sexual desires and his intellectual curiosity about society’s religious beliefs. Wenda (Devon Candura) is ignorant of what is happening to her body and her desires. Her mother is too prudish and sexual inhibited to explain the facts of life to her.  Hans (Cole Simon)  struggles both with his studies and his unknown sexual conflicts. One girl must cope with being beaten by her parents.  All the teens never find any guidance from the adults authority figures in their lives.

spring awakening, promethean theatre

Parents, teachers and societal authorities ignore their plight. They suppress the questions and the reality of these teens normal growing up process. Wedekind dramatically demonstrates the hypocrisy of adults as they hide behind their conservative status  quo.

Having to fend for themselves, the teens are concerned with discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality. The original play was banned in Germany, for about a century, due to its portrayal of masturbation, abortion, rape, bondage, child abuse and suicide. The immense pressure put on these teens fueled by hypocrisy and stupidity, does lead to dire consequences.

Kudos to the cast of nine: Jes Bedwinek, Devon Candura, Zachary Clark, Sara Gorsky, Nick Lake, Jessica London-Shields, Paul G. Miller, Tyler Rich and Cole Simon for their emotional rich as completely truthful performances. The give a face to the plight of teens everywhere.  Director Murray (except for his loud rock music intros) has a nicely paced and engaging show.  This surly is a cautionary tale that tells adults to listen and communicate with your children. They want and need your honesty.   This show is fine theatre.


Tom Williams

At The Artistic Home, 3914 N. Clark, Chicago, IL, call 773-305-2897,  tickets $20, Thursdays  & Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 3 & 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours and 15 minutes with intermission.

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