Spring Awakening is the latest show to fit the pattern of Second Stage Student Theatre’s past productions as it brings light to uncomfortable topics that are often not openly discussed.
Spring Awakening is a controversial rock musical that delves into topics such as sexuality in adolescents, suicide, religion and more.
The play opened last night at Community Bible Church and will have two more performances — February 2 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Second Stage Student Theatre is a group from the Nashville area that creates an avenue for theater students to perform, mainly coming from Lipscomb and Belmont.
This student-led company’s mission is being “…dedicated to empowering young theatre artists and crafting the next generation of socially and culturally challenging works of theatre by creating avenues to explore theatrical production, direction and design.”
The company is an outlet for several Lipscomb students to perform, including junior Olivia Zemer, who was in the ensemble of Spring Awakening.
“It’s such an important story,” Zemer said. “I’m an education major, so I think about all the kids that I’ll be working with in the future and how they are going through all these same things that the students in the show are, but nobody is talking to them, and that is still happening today.”
Lipscomb senior Liz Schenck went to the Friday night performance and said she felt the show was relevant to today’s society.
“I thought is was absolutely phenomenal,” Schenck said. “This is the kind of story that isn’t told often enough, especially in the kind of culture we’re living in, deeply entrenched in the Bible Belt.”
Not only was the show put on by students, but it was also done in only three weeks. The group started rehearsals on January 6 and had less than a month to create the show.
“These are people that have a vision and have the drive to get it done and they found a place to do it,” Schneck said. “And they have the freedom in an outside venue to really do the things that they want to do and that makes the performance all that more impactful.”
The musical is set in 19th century Germany and tells the story of teenagers coming into their sexuality while living in a society that doesn’t talk about sexuality or provide sexual education for teenagers. The show raises questions about heavy subjects such as rape, abuse, abortion and the consequences of a lack of sexual education in youth.
Spring Awakening takes a bold approach to telling this teen story with cursing and sexual scenes on stage that may not be suitable for young children.
Lipscomb senior and music director of Spring Awakening Scott Brons said he feels like Second Stage is a needed outlet that allows Lipscomb and Belmont students to have more freedom in producing their art.
“It’s the second stage and not the main stage,” Brons said. “We would never be able to do this show at Lipscomb just because of the adult themes in it. I think Second Stage giving a huge voice to important music and shows like this is exactly what we need.”
Photo courtesy of SSST Facebook