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Spring Awakening: A Children's Tragedy

Spring Awakening: A Children's Tragedy
Your Price: $14.95 CDN
Author: Frank Wedekind
Translated by: Jonathan Franzen
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 80
Pub. Date: 2008
ISBN-10: 0822222817
ISBN-13: 9780822222811

About the Play:

Spring Awakening is a full-length drama by Frank Wedekind, translated by Jonathan Franzen. This famously banned German play focuses on a group of classmates and explores adolescent sexuality and the emotional consequences if suppressed.

Written in 1891 and first performed under heavy censorship in Germany in 1906, Frank Wedekind's play closed after one night in New York in 1917 amid public outrage and charges of obscenity. The play's content was radical indeed: teenage sex, suicide, abortion, masturbation, sadomasochism. But even more radical was the unsentimental and brutally authentic comedy with which Wedekind treated it. The story traces the dawning sexual awareness of four teenagers, Melchior, Moritz, Wendla, and Hansy, who, in their painfully funny contradictions — they are at once too innocent and not remotely innocent at all — remain fresh and unsettling even in our own sex-saturated culture.

Cast: 7 women, 30 men (doubling)

What people say:

"By turns hilarious and chilling… the culmination of this playwright's work to date…. Riveting theater." — New York Times

"Excellent translation." — Stage Directions

"It's a great play to shock the adults with on parents' weekend." — Library Journal

"Spring Awakening is the best play ever written about teenagers, and Jonathan Franzen's fraught yet buoyant translation is the best I've ever read. In a culture where lies about adolescence prevail, this funny and honest play is more relevant than ever." — Christopher Shinn, playwright

"Franzen here has navigated his way between the viciously comic satire and puling lachrymose melodrama (this latter quite deliberate on Wedekind's part, reflecting the puling lachrymose self-regard of arrogant adolescence) quite well, even brilliantly at times, and his grasp of the play's comedy, particularly in Act 3 Scene 1, is exquisite." — George Hunka, playwright

About the Playwright:

Frank Wedekind (1864-1918) was a journalist, advertising manager, secretary to a circus, cabaret artiste, satirist, convict and actor as well as the author of twenty-one plays, many of which reflect aspects of his extraordinary career. He himself paid for the publication of Spring Awakening (1891), though it was not staged till 1906. (In England it was banned from public performance until 1963.) Earth Spirit (1895), the first of his plays to be seen on stage (1898), introduced the sexually voracious Lulu, who also figured in Pandora's Box (1904) and subsequently in Alban Berg's opera (Lulu, 1935) and in Peter Barnes' conflation of the two plays seen in England in 1970. Other notable plays include The Marquis of Keith (1900; British premiere, 1974), King Nicolo (1902), Castle Wetterstein (1910) and Franziska (1912). Wedekind was greatly admired by Brecht, and his satiric songs still have considerable bite.