The College of the Holy Cross’ Alternate College Theatre (ACT) will present “Spring Awakening,” adapted by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater and directed by Christine Freije ’13 on Feb. 7 – 8 at 8 p.m., Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. in Fenwick Theatre (located on the second floor of O’Kane Hall). Tickets are $10 for members of the Holy Cross community and $15 for the general public and can be reserved by calling the box office at 508-793-3536. Due to inclement weather the Friday, Feb. 8 performance has been canceled. It has been rescheduled for Sunday, Feb. 10 at 8 p.m.
Originally written by Frank Wedekind in 1891 and adapted into a Broadway musical in 2006, “Spring Awakening” is a coming-of-age story about a group of German peasant teenagers in the late 19th -century. Focusing on the relationship between Melchior Gabor, a young, rebellious atheist, and Wendla Bergman, who is desperately seeking answers concerning her changing body and emotions, the play follows the development of both their physical and emotional relationship, and explores the struggles of other characters by interrogating the nature of abuse, puberty, sexuality, academic failure and strict discipline.
“The rock musical numbers allow each character to express the emotional lives that they are forced to suppress in regular society,” explains Freije. “The show says something difficult and complicated,” she continues. “It ends up trying to grapple with the repercussions of repression as well as exploring the possibility of a fulfilling sexual life in a repressive society.”
Often censored and banned (as recently as in 1963 in the U.S.) because of its alleged rebellious and subversive content, the musical version of “Spring Awakening” premiered on Broadway when Freije was 15, she says, “the same age as the adolescent characters in the show.” Reflecting on her hopes for the production at the College, she states, “I hope that it will remind the audience that they are not so far from those emotions after all.”
ACT is a student-run organization at Holy Cross. For each show, students manage every aspect of directing, acting, lighting and design. A theatre major from Worcester, Mass., Freije has acted since age seven in community theatre and throughout high school and college and has directed productions of John Guare’s “Muzeeka,” Aeschylus’ “The Libation Bearers” and Bertolt Brecht’s “Baal.”
The play features a cast of 14 undergraduate students, including Danielle Santos ’14 as the curious Wendla Bergman, Patrick O’Konis ’16 as the headstrong Melchior Gabor and Patrick Simas ’14 as the insecure Moritz Stiefel. The cast also includes Eva Coll ’13, Solon Kelleher ’15, Erin Clifford ’15, Ryan O’Keefe ’14, David Cotrone ’13, Suzanne Crifo ’13, Anna Tramontozzi ’16, Megan McDermott ’16, Emma Linsenmeyer ’16, Angelo DeNofrio ’16 and Brian Ott ’16.