Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Done at UT: Frühlings Erwachen by Franz Wedekin, in German, April 17 - 18

Announcement from the Daily Texan online of a classic of 20th century German theatre by forerunner of expressionism Frank Wedekind. We just missed it.

Racy German theater strikes UT stage
Story of boy's early sexual prowess meant to jolt audience 'out of complacency'

Andy O'Connor
Daily Texan Staff
Published: Friday, April 17, 2009

What: “Frühlings Erwachen
Where: Oscar G. Brockett Theatre
When: Today and Saturday at 8 p.m.
Admission: Free

Frank Wedekind’s “Frühlings Erwachen” (“Spring Awakening”) has a history of provocation. Its first English-language performance in 1917 was almost shut down due to claims that the play was pornographic. A production in 1964 in England was forced to tone down its content. The point is, the play pushed buttons, and that inspired UT assistant Germanic studies professor Philip Broadbent to direct a new production.

“It’s a fine example of a theater piece that wants to jolt its audience — it wants to jolt it out of complacency,” he said.

The play centers around 14-year-old Melchior Gabor, played by kinesiology junior Bishan Jones, who feels isolated because he is much more knowledgeable about the world — especially about sex — than his peers. Another central conflict revolves around Gabor’s friend, Moritz Stiefel, played by German senior Chris Gomez, because he has difficulty coming to terms with puberty and new sexual knowledge.

Wedekind wrote the play as a critique of conservative German society and its desire to keep children innocent. According to Broadbent, the play is filled with Freudian elements.

Click to read full article on Daily Texan Online.

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