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January 21, 2009

Spring Awakening

Des Moines Civic Center Wendy and I had a great date night last night. We ate at Noah's Ark in Des Moines before buzzing over to the Civic Center for opening night of the musical Spring Awakening. The show is definitely not for the easily offended or faint of heart. We found it to be a teenager's myopic perspective of life. Wendy put it well when she said that the show likely reflected her own high school journals.

The show is all dark angst. Every adult is an evil, repressive authoritarian and the church is to be blamed for everything that's wrong with the world. The teenagers are, like all teens, trying to make sense of life and sex. All the major political themes are addressed. There's a girl getting raped by her father. There's the couple losing their virginity (of course, the girl gets pregnant and is forced into a back alley abortion). Their's the tragic soul who commits suicide. And, of course, the boys disovering their homosexuality. None of these story lines are brought to much of any conclusion. They are thrown at us and left sitting there as the cast ends the show with a big broadway number about "purple summer," whatever that is supposed to be.

There were moments in the show that were absolutely true, and they were the best moments of the evening. The music was amazing. The lighting was spectacular. The choreography was breathtaking. The actors were top-notch. Each time one of the actors opened their mouth to sing I was enthralled with their talent.

The world-view overall, however, was skewed. Of course, as Wendy reminded me, the show is really a teen-ager's perspective. Which one of us didn't have a skewed view of reality when we were teenagers?

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickrand turtlemoon

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