As close as we all wish to be with our parents, there will always be those moments of dead air, where touchy topics of conversation are left to molder at the back of our minds. In that empty space, shame and confusion fester, often leaving us bewildered by the onrush of changes that come with growing up.
For the finale of its 27th season, the Ateneo Blue Repertory brings this tension under the spotlight in its second rendition of Spring Awakening, a tale of German youths unearthing their blooming sexuality to the dismay of their parents and superiors. Baffled by their changing bodies, the students seek the guidance of the highly intelligent and radical Melchior Gabor, whose rebellious streak eventually catches the attention of the school’s Headmaster. With the circulation of Melchior’s racy essay and the students growing friskier, the school and their parents are left to intervene and impose their authority.
For those familiar with the more conventional Broadway staging of the musical, you’d notice that blueREP did away with the glitz and glam of the Broadway edition, opting for a more intimate and focused interpretation of Duncan Sheik and Steve Sater’s composition. That’s not a knock against the production though, as the cast still preserves much of the risqué pomp Spring Awakening is best known for.
The trio of Sandino Martin, Krystal Kane, and Juancho Gabriel fully embodied the sexually-charged characters they were portraying . Sandino’s Melchior, in particular, commands the attention of the audience with his exuberance and wit, a fitting counter to the naivité of Krystal’s Wendla and Juancho’s Moritz. Together, they provided a sharp contrast to the domineering adults, who throughout the plot, sought to preserve the innocence of the children.