Set in late 19th century Germany, “Spring Awakening” returns to the stage raising the bar as it innovatively blends American Sign Language with English spoken words and music. Book & lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Ducan Sheik “Spring Awakening” starts at the Brooke Atkinson theater on September 8, 2015. The Deaf West Theater company brings this revival to Broadway after a critically acclaimed run from Los Angeles. The show’s unique approach in bridging the gap between nonverbal and verbal communication makes it’s visually stunning and profound in displaying the frustrations of not being able to be understood. I had the opportunity to watch the first performance and I was left blown away by the way they artistically remastered the Tony award winning show.
The whole show is structured in such a way where the main characters are Deaf and have an inner voice played by another actor which is projected and showed only to the audience. This duality is compelling to watch since the shows subject matter is about be left in the dark as adolescents grow up in a world where parentocracy is law. The adults of the show want to shield these young students from the realities of life such as sex, pregnancy, homosexuality, and failure. As these teens develop and have natural curiosities in regards to their body and life after school, some are plagued with questions in which the adults refuse to answer. The mixture of the verbal and non-verbal make the show compelling to watch as the audience realizes that you don’t to speak in order to be understood.
For more information and tickets check out Spring Awakening