Long before the term “teenager” was invented, Wendla, Melchior and Moritz were pretty much aware of what this feels like: You’re no longer a child – but what’s next? And why are you suddenly seeing your friends with different eyes? While their parents are still telling them stories about the stork, the young people are feeling their way into a new world that seems both exciting and dangerous. Melchior, who affects a worldly-wise and nihilistic attitude, has plenty to say on the topic, while Moritz is still struggling to find a way to deal with these new, exciting dream images. Wendla and Melchior are testing their limits together – and then there is Ilse, who has long turned her back on school and lives her life on the edge, as part of the libertarian art scene of the metropolis.
Frank Wedekind’s “Frühlings Erwachen (Spring Awakening)” is a coming-of-age story about more than just repressed teenage romance, butterflies in the stomach and holding hands. The characters go to the limits and beyond, with fatal consequences for two of them. There was next to no room for exploring one’s own desires in the rigid morality of the Wilhelmine Gründerzeit-era that is the social setting of Wedekind’s “children’s tragedy”, and it is hardly surprising that the drama fell victim to censorship immediately after its publication in 1891. Writing about sex and desire would have been shocking enough, but Wedekind tops this by including issues like masturbation, abortion and homosexuality.
But from a distance of 130 years, with information on the topic available wherever you look and in a seemingly much more liberal social environment, the radical nature of Wedekind’s character sketches is still very evident. The fact that desire doesn’t always follow a well-ordered path and that no amount of sex education can prepare us for that decisive moment is one that each generation and each individual has to experience for themselves.
With “Frühlings Erwachen”, a very special format of Schauspiel Leipzig will take to the Main Stage for the first time: Under the direction of Yves Hinrichs, members of the theatre youth club “Sorry, eh!” perform together with members of the theatre’s acting company. So far, this constellation has generated productions like “TSCHICK”, “Annie” and, most recently, “Morning” by Simon Stephens, which is still in the Diskothek’s repertory.