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Spring Awakening

February 12, 2012
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Event: “Spring Awakening” by Pangdemonium Productions
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre
Run: 3rd – 26th Feb 2012
Book & Lyrics: Steven Sater
Music: Duncan Sheik

It was raw. Yup, that’s the word that came to mind. Raw.

A raw display of the road to self- and sexual discovery of a group of teenagers set in an German bourgeois society of the late 19th century. Raw too in the psychological and emotional upheavals as innocent youths bordering on uncertain awareness; of how to feel and how to cope with expectations and conventions. It’s getting in touch with that rocky and intense side to the coming of age.

What greeted me first was the beautiful set. Pangdemonium’s (or rather Eucien Chia’s design) sets have never failed to enthrall audiences, especially in that amazing set-up for Dealer’s Choice. How would I describe it? Exquisite yet functional. This was also the case. The church frame, platforms, and oh, I liked the props too, especially the chairs with their storage compartment under the seat. The stage felt larger than life actually as it seemed to contain us as well, in the internal structure of the skeletal frame. Very up-close, especially for the stall seat holders. I guess that contributed to the intensity of the mood. The hidden-mic-in-jacket stints were also quite nifty, and at some points adding humour to the show.

Of the actors, Eden Ang’s ‘Moritz’ was one of those who stood out. I was pretty impressed by his acrobatic moves earlier in the act, probably because of his break-dancing background (yes, I know that’s not the point), but his portrayal of the frustrated-by-puberty Moritz was equally commendable, drawing laughter and spice and was greatly missed due to his unfortunate and uncalled for end. His character was by far the most vibrant and explosive and I think he did very well in portraying that. Woah, and the slaps Adrian Pang (as Moritz’s father) gave him, not once, but twice. The sound was pretty loud. Imagine that for the whole run! Personally, I liked the segment when he did “And Then There Were None” as well. In general, I felt the cast were relatively natural in their roles.

The most moving scene to me has got to be the funeral scene as Nathan Hartono’s (as Melchior) tender rendition of “Left Behind” left me with tears rolling down my cheeks. The scene also ended on a heartbreaking note of a father who broke down in grief, out of a love he never got to show and regret. Come to think of it, the death of Moritz marked the end of a more lively life among the teenagers as he was the one who was usually full of zest, but was unexpectedly the one who went down the road of suicide, a victim of an unfair system. I felt his death was the turning point of the show as everything just spiraled downwards from there.
And seeing the father of Moritz and the mother of Wendla, adults are just as clueless or unsure of dealing with their children. The society back then is not much different from now actually, between parents and their children. There is always that disparity that needs to be resolved, if it can be resolved.

However, I felt the scene of “Those You’ve Known” near the end brought a bit of hope, yet at the same time, it brought awareness that at that point, Melchior truly came of age and stepped into adulthood, not by choice, but by the hard and tragic truths of life. Life must go on.

I liked how the show ended with “The Song of Purple Summer” as it brought me back to the opening scene when the 3 of them (Melchior, Moritz and Wendla) were still kids and Melchior was writing a song about summer…

from spring to summer the age has passed… (random)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2012 10:42 am

    Very very well written, Ilkosa! =)

    You have described it so well, especially about the stage setting which I find it so difficult to put into words.

    I can feel the musical and characters come alive to me all over again by reading your review!

    • Ilkosa permalink
      February 14, 2012 11:23 am

      Hi ST, thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed reading it. 🙂

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