‘Spring Awakening’: Inside the mind of an actor

   The Tony Award-winning show “Spring Awakening” is a rock musical set in 1891 Germany that deals with incredibly emotionally challenging themes.

   As an actor, shows such as this can be very heavy and difficult to deal with. One must be able to revisit the topics each night with the same intent and emotion. In the society “Spring Awakening” is set in, these characters are forced to embrace and navigate their own sexuality and pubescence without the help of any adults, due to the fact that it is seen as vulgar. This show takes a stance on how we must educate our youth about sex and growing up, but it does so by very deeply shocking the audience.

   “Spring Awakening” deals with some incredibly difficult topics that are a reality for even our society today such as abortion and suicide.

   Each actor has a different way of being able to deal with such an emotionally taxing show. Rituals or barriers are often created to make sure that they do not become emotionally drain by the content of the show. As an actor, you must be able to put yourself in a show, but also be able to remove yourself each night so that you can live a successful life.

   Emily Ricalde, who plays the female lead Wendla, explains that rehearsal each day begins with “angsty music in the style of the show like ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana and ‘Jump’ by House of Pain to help us create a bond of trust as an ensemble and to put us in the mindset of the teenagers we portray.” She then concluded that each night she must consciously emotionally step out of her character, “so that [she] leave[s] every experience as Wendla on the stage.”

   “When you have such a wonderful and willing group of cast members everyone shares in the emotional moments together so it isn’t hard on just one single person,” said Trevor Brown, who portrays the male lead Melchoir.

   Brown emphasized that each cast member is there for each other and are even able to “share those pains together.” In rehearsals he has found himself feeling as though he “need[ed] to step out of rehearsal for a few moments because of how taxing it is on me as Melchior, but I knew as soon as I got back into the space people would be there for me, to support me and to push me through those times that are hard.”

   Emma Rivet, who is in the ensemble, said that “working with this subject matter definitely brings to light issues that we have in our own lives and in our own society.”

   Rivet further explains that often she finds herself identifying with the characters of the show and it “forces you to face yourself to be able to truthfully tell the story.” For her, it is important to have a cast and production team that she can fully trust with how demanding and emotionally draining the show can be.

   The show will be running on the stage of A.A. Fredericks in the round setting Sept. 26-28 and Oct. 3-6 at 7:30 p.m., as well as a matinée on Oct. 7 at 2 p.m.

   The show is free for all students. To reserve seating contact Wanda Lucas at 318-357-4483.

Photo by Valentina Perez Espinosa.

Anna Birbiglia

Share your thoughts