By E. Egan
If the directors are right, chances are you have never heard of a musical called Spring Awakening. Adelaide Waldrop (Director) and Brendan Macdonald (Musical Director) of JustSo Society claim to be within the first five amateur productions in the U.K to produce the show, and they are probably right.
The musical is adapted from a play of the same name by a previously obscure German writer by the name of Frank Wedekind. It draws heavily from Greek tragedy except here the central characters are adolescents. However those of you who are expecting some German version of Peter Pan may be taken a little aback by the rocky, angst driven, moody, sexually charged fusion that it is.
German Expressionism is an influence on Miss Waldrop’s direction which harks back to Frank Wedekind. Something that she is keen to stress is that she would like take the musical back to what it originally was when it was a play. Furthermore she adds that the work doesn’t fit in a certain time. However, what is evident to both directors is that the play does have momentum, and this is something they would like to monopolise on.
Perhaps nothing highlights this momentum more than the music of the piece: Brendan describes it as being “musically diverse” with string quartets mashed with rock oriented drums. It even has a bluesy soulful taint to it as well. In many musicals songs are like spices added to make a somewhat bland and generic plot have a little bit more to give: they are used to help the audience maintain interest to the end.
But in Spring Awakening the songs are very much embedded into the story. This is so much so that the directors explain that they are more like soliloquies. And what is more fitting for angsty self expression than rock music? Perhaps this is why Brendan is reluctant to try and impose himself on the music of the work. The most important thing for him is that characters and the story are allowed to be told rather than it being a piece in which he can gain some credit.
So perhaps it is worth your time to head over yourself to the Byre on the 18th, 19th or the 20th of November and allow yourself to be taken on a journey: one that the director asserts there is something important to learn. It is indeed intriguing to see the work of a man who said “Search fearlessly for every sin, for out of sin comes joy.”