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It was a special treat to watch and experience Spring Awakening The Musical performed by The Anne Shirley Theatre Company (ASTC) this past Saturday at Market Hall.
ASTC has been a part of the Trent University community since 2003 and produces a musical each spring with a cast of Trent University students. Spring Awakening is the company’s 12th musical production!
This rock-musical is based off of the original play Spring Awakening that was once prohibited in Germany. The musical set in 1890’s Germany, occurring during the repressive 19th century society, expresses issues of sexuality, physical/sexual assault, mental illness, misogyny and teenage sexual repression. I think these issues are extremely relevant and unclear in today’s society, which is why this play was very well chosen and influential.
The company was perfectly cast and extremely talented. Their hard work, dedication, enthusiasm, and genuine ability were evident and felt by the audience throughout the performance.
The costumes in the show were very appropriate for the time period of the play. The colors and fabrics chosen were very complimentary with the lighting and the overall theme.
The live band that accompanied the show was comprised of extremely talented musicians playing the guitars, cello, clarinet, drums, percussion, piano, electric guitar and keyboards. The music was beautiful, honorably conducted and performed. The band brought the show and the voices of the cast to life.
The cast was also talented in their vocals and acting skills. The songs were very exciting as there was much energy and enthusiasm in every word and each dance step. The actors were passionate and committed to their roles and this was what made the production so swaying.
In Act 1 my favorite songs performed were “The Bitch of Living,” “The Word of Your Body,” and “The Word of Your Body 1.” In “The Bitch of Living,” Kevin Lemieux as Melchior Gabor expresses his frustration towards the authority of his professor, the laws of education and religion and the repressive role of society in totality. Melchior and his fellow classmates describe their irritation and oppose the strict values of religion and education that they live under through this song, as they express that life is a bitch and they are stuck in the “Bitch of Living.” This song really sets an overall mood of the show and allows the audience to be in the mind of a young student living in Germany in the 19th century.
“The Word of Your Body” was also a very moving piece. At first the song was performed in a positive, lighthearted mood as the main characters Melchior and Wendla explored their attraction to each other by holding hands. The song was sweet and the moment between the two was innocent and genuine so I really enjoyed this.
What was really interesting though was what happened next.
The song was then repeated a piece later as “The Word of Your Body Reprise 1,” in which it was performed in a completely different tone with entirely different meaning.
In the second act the song was performed again as “Reprise,” and I was very impressed at how it was portrayed very distinctly and differently from the others.
Each time the lyrics of the song remained unchanged but the voices and body movements of the cast gave each an entirely separate and individual mood and meaning from one another. I enjoyed this component of the production and its consistency of placement throughout the acts, while also maintaining individuality to avoid repetitiveness, perfectly tied the show and the pieces together.
Overall the talent and dedication of the entire cast behind Spring Awakening brought this very thought-provoking musical to life. The experience of watching this musical and cast of talented, experienced students, was moving as I felt every emotion (I even cried!) and was confronted with relevant issues in society that also impact my everyday life.
I want to congratulate and thank the entire cast for such an amazing production and successful performance. I was enlightened, inspired, awed and enthused and I would highly recommend everyone to head to Market Hall, buy a ticket to the show, buy a cold Corona, sit back and get ready for an experience. The ASTC cast of Spring Awakening will give you more than you can expect, I promise you that!
The tickets to Spring Awakening are just $10 for students, which is a great deal and definitely a show you wouldn’t want to miss!