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Published July 25 2012

Director hopes ‘Spring Awakening’ spurs community conversations

FARGO – Some young actors will tackle some serious stuff this week when “Spring Awakening” hits the stage in Fargo.

Presented by the new Act Up theater troupe, the rock-musical adaptation of a controversial German play from 1891, starts tonight at the Stage at Island Park.

“Spring Awakening,” which was originally banned in Germany, follows teenagers as they discover their sexuality, all while addressing themes such as abortion, homosexuality, rape, child abuse and suicide.

While that may seem like quite a lot to handle, director Rebecca Meyer-Larson says the cast, ranging in age from 16 to 22, brings a level of maturity necessary to handle the serious topics.

“The depth of talent in this cast, and the maturity and honesty they bring to the roles is just astounding,” she says.

Meyer-Larson admits the play doesn’t shy away from addressing the intense subject matter, which might scare some away.

“And some of those issues are ugly and can make you uncomfortable,” she says.

Because of that seriousness, the production is partnering with the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center in Fargo as a way of appropriately approaching the tough themes.

“The social justice component is key to our mission,” Meyer-Larson says. “We want to make sure that we are addressing these issues with sensitivity.”

At each performance, “Awakening Awareness” suicide prevention materials will be distributed to audience members, which Meyer-Larson hopes will help people recognize the warning signs of suicidal behavior.

“It is our sincere hope that we as a community can prevent the tragedies that befall the characters in the show,” she says.

After each performance, cast members will also participate in talks with the audience, discussing their experiences in bringing the serious themes to the stage.

“Our hope is to fill this place and get a lot of people talking,” Meyer-Larson says.

But despite the very serious nature at the heart of the play, the audience can expect to be entertained as well.

“The show is a tragedy of childhood, but it plays like a rock concert,” Meyer-Larson says.

If you go

What: “Spring Awakening”

When: 7:30 p.m. today through Sunday and Wednesday through Aug. 4.

Where: The Stage at Island Park, 333 4th St. S., Fargo

Info: Call (701) 235-6778 or visit www.fmct.org


Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535