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Fall production features Spring’s Awakening

By Costa Maragos Posted: November 9, 2016 6:00 a.m.

(l-r) Nicole Garries and Taryn Freemantle. The story depicts schoolchildren in a German town in the 1890s and their dawning sexual awareness as they transition to adulthood.
(l-r) Nicole Garries and Taryn Freemantle. The story depicts schoolchildren in a German town in the 1890s and their dawning sexual awareness as they transition to adulthood. Photo External Relations

The University Theatre comes alive with its fall production of “Spring’s Awakening” based on the 1891 German Expressionist play by Frank Wedekind.

Spring’s Awakening is presented by the Theatre Department and is produced as part of Regina’s city-wide German Expressionism Festival, The Caligari Project.

The story depicts schoolchildren in a German town in the 1890s and their dawning sexual awareness as they transition to adulthood.

spring play
(L-r) Joseph McLellan and Cole Manz. Photo External Relations

Risqué stuff for the time period, but the underlining message remains fresh today and provokes a closer look at how parents talk to their children about sex and relationships.

The play has a long and controversial history. It was performed under heavy censorship in Germany in 1905. In New York in 1917, authorities shut down the production after one night amid public outrage and charges of obscenity.

Kenn MacLeod, who earned his BFA at the U of R, recalls being handed a translation of Spring’s Awakening soon after he completed his undergraduate degree.

“I was struck by the dark humour involved in a place about such heavy themes,” he says.

In 2010, MacLeod did an adaptation of the original as his thesis project.

“I leapt at the chance. This production, opening almost six years later to the day, has been a great opportunity to bring back the bulk of my training and practice since undergrad to the department that started it all.”  

spring play behind the scenes
The team behind the scenes (l-r) Carson Walliser, Tori Yuzik, Karlee Rabby, Sarah Rogers and Catherine Bridge. Photo External Relations
Audiences will be struck by the play’s period staging and costumes, giving the look and feel of the sometimes dreary life experienced in rural Germany in the late 1800s.

Much of that staging success is due to the work of the theatre students working behind the scenes. Here’s what they have to say about this unique theatre experience.
 
Catherine Bridge (Set Designer) – Stage design major

This play offers a lot of creativity. There are so many options and directions you can go with German Expressionism because it’s such an ‘out there’ style. It doesn’t limit what you can do. There are simply many more places you can go to and get into so much more detail.
This is very much a three-dimensional set. The performers have so many platforms to play on with different levels.  
This is a huge portfolio piece and a huge opportunity to stretch and grow as a designer.

Tory Yuzik (Lighting Designer) – Stage management and design major

This is a fun project. There’s a lot more you can do stylistically with this. One of the things here is there are no right angles anywhere. There are a lot of sharp cuts in the lights. German Expressionism comes from the tormented within, and a dream-like stage. Right angles put you too much into reality.
It’s a little dark. What you see when you look at the actors, they look cold and ill. This is the most fun project I have done at the U of R so far. It has been a really interesting experience. I’ve grown a lot as a lighting designer in this project.

Karlee Rabby (Stage Manager) – Stage management major and design major
spring group
The cast of Spring's Awakening. The play has a long and controversial history. It was performed under heavy censorship in Germany in 1905. Photo External Relations


I am the one who schedules everything and make things flow. I am the person they come to when there is a problem.
I get so much trust and respect out of people that generally I don’t get in my day-to-day. Every single one of my actors, every single one of the wonderful production team, they trust me to deal with everyone and to take care of everyone at the end of the day.
I’ve worked with several of the directors at the university as an assistant stage manager and as an actor. I’ve been here for awhile. I’m a fourth year.
What this means to me is it’s a whole different ball field from what I’m used to. I’m used to working contemporary pieces and this is not at all. This is such a jump and it’s such a wonderful thing to be a part of.
 
Carson Walliser (Costumer Designer) – Actor performance major
 
I must have read at least 12 textbooks about period accuracy for the look. Lots of books focused on historic costumes for the ages mostly focussed on western costumes. I focussed on ones just on hair, on stockings, on makeup, on cuts of clothes and was very specific on what fabrics were used.  
This is the first show I have costumed designed. My major is acting. It’s my eighth show in a row. I wanted to do something really different. This show was a fantastic way for me to be able to express things about characters I wish I could play. There are a whole slew of people that I would love to work on as an actor, but now I get to do that but through costume. I’ve always loved costume.  
I am in my fourth year, so this show gives me a lot of perspective on the people that I work with and how far some of us have come since we first got here

Event:     Spring’s Awakening
Dates:     Nov. 9 - 12
Time:      7:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Location: University Theatre
                Riddell Centre – Main Campus
Tickets:   Adults $15
                Seniors/Students $10
                U of R students free with valid ID.