Teenage rebellion has taken an old familiar form, that is somehow surprisingly new! Spring Awakening has come to the Bob Carr in Orlando, and it has people talking. Some of the talk is good; some of the talk is simply scandalous!
You see, I went to see Spring Awakening already knowing the premise, already having read the parent guide, and guess what? I took my 14-year-old son along with me…and apparently this is simply unheard of in Orlando!
Yes, the language was raunchy, vulgar, and even boorish at times…but no more than that in the locker room my son changes in for gym class daily!
Yes, the themes dealt with teen pregnancy, masturbation, and even suicide…but aren’t I glad I had a chance to talk about these things with my son! (These are pretty darn important to talk about…don’t you think?)
Let’s get real… my son watches Glee weekly and on occasion has even viewed a rated R movie at a friend’s house… so, yes, he’s already seen more than anything Spring Awakening might put on stage. Did the love scene shock us? Well… kind of, as I didn’t quite realize there’d be a women’s breast and a man’s butt bared… but, it did give me the chance to tell my son, “Just in case there was any doubt…that is how a girl gets pregnant!”
You see, these conversations are very necessary in today’s world…apparently in yesterday’s world, too. Spring Awakening was written and takes place in the late 1800s in a suppressive Victorian-like Germany. (My son commented that thanks to the rock-n-roll music, the show didn’t feel like it took place in another century.) But it is funny how these themes are still a constant even in today’s world. Parents simply do not want to talk about sex with their children. They somehow feel by not talking about it, it simply won’t happen.
I happen to know differently. My first teaching assignment was Life Management Skills in Gainesville, Florida at Buchholz High School, where the life cycle was part of the curriculum. I had a student ask how the baby breathes in the womb and another student begged to give the answer. “Okay,” I said, “so how does the baby breathe in the womb?”
“My older sister just had her baby,” the girl announced proudly, “and my grandma told her not to cross her legs the whole nine months!”
What? Grandma! (So that’s at least three generations that had no idea the baby does not actually breathe in the womb!)
I wish I could say this was an uncommon occurrence. A friend of mine even now blushes anytime she hears the word sex and she says she’ll never be able to discuss sex with her pre-teen daughter, which unfortunately was exactly what happened in the play between Wendla and her mother. (Guess who ends up getting pregnant and having no idea how it happened!)
So, while this was not the typical Broadway show, it doesn’t pretend to be one. This is why the show has an extensive website with an attached Parent Guide. So, whether you want to relive your own teenage angst and rebellious feelings, or spark a conversation between your teenager and yourself, I’d recommend going to see Spring Awakening. (There’s a reason it won 8 Tony Awards!)