Monday, September 24, 2012

Spring Awakening

Thing 2 and I went and saw Spring Awakening at The Western Stage the weekend it opened on September 9th  It was a Sunday matinee or as I like to call it the "Blue Hair" performance (more on this later)  The clip below is the OBC Tony Award Performance.
Western Stage did a good job with casting and the young cast was very enthusiastic and believably inhabited their roles.  Vocal performances were very good.  Choreography was a bit sloppy and the dancing was out of sync and not very crisp.  I was disappointed with the two adult actors.  The show is setup so that two adults play all the different adult parts.  The actors did not do a good job differentiating each of the characters they played and the audience had to rely on wardrobe props to determine who they were.  Also the director made a choice to have the two school masters act as a comic foil which was distracting.

The show was staged in the large auditorium at Hartnell College.  This is a nice space and I really don't feel there is a bad seat in the house.  Personally I would have liked this to see this in the small theater, which is in the round.  Since the original Broadway production had audience members actually sitting in seats on the stage.  This would have made the show feel so much more intimate.  But I understand about economics and how more tickets can be sold.  However this is Salinas and frankly not the THEATRE center of the world.  Okay now to the Blue Hair performance.

Spring Awakening based on an 18th century German novel, it is about the sexual awareness that a group of adolescents is gaining as they move through puberty.  Abuse, incest, rape, homosexuality, suicide and abortion are all explored.  Western Stage matinees must have an average age of 75.  The audience became less and less enthusiastic with their applause as the show went on and became darker.  Several folks (though not as many as I first thought) did not come back after intermission.  When the show ended there was a moment of shocked silence before the applause.  But I will say..that eavesdropping as folks left the theater that the show did induce conversation...which it was designed to do.  Overall a well done show and comparable with the Broadway tour version I saw with Thing 1 a few years back.

Glad Western Stage took the risk.  Even if KSBW refused to air their promotional spots.  Which in my opinion were a bit silly and tried to focus on the titillating aspects of the show and undermined the moving emotional aspects of the show.  However the spots were by no means salacious and totally safe for prime time.

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