The Livingston Theatre Company presents "Spring Awakening"
The Livingston Theatre Company certainly lived up to their reputation as Rutgers University’s premiere musical theatre organization with their second of five showings of “Spring Awakening,” based on the play by Frank Wedekind. The sold out showing of the play had a gathering with a mix of alumni, parents, students and faculty.
The show was presented in a arena-style fashion, with members of the audience on two sides of the stage with no backdrop. All set movement on the stage was done by the cast themselves in a fluid, efficiently coordinated fashion.
Livingston Theatre Company made sure to have all its bases covered in putting on a proper performance by coordinating a live pit band, well trained stage performers and carefully crafting sets, props and realistic looking attire. The lighting arrangement during the show was also fairly impressive.
Ajit Matthews, a Rutgers Business School sophomore and the director of the play, spoke about how he really enjoyed putting the production together. Since it was not his first time directing, he felt confident about getting everyone on the same page and also gave credit to the strong, experienced staff he had the pleasure to work with.
The play itself takes place in late 19th century Germany. The main characters are a group of students who are dealing with a plethora of issues pertaining to very personal topics that are often associated with identity, like homosexuality and sexual expression. The main characters also come along some other controversial, thought provoking issues such as suicide and sexual abuse.
The adult characters in the play do not communicate properly with the youth on these issues, and it draws out the youth’s conviction as well as confusion. This puts the main characters in situations of uncertainty and self-conscious behavior. Being based in a time period in which this type of behavior was always swept under the rug, the story line makes sense, but also attempts to raise these issues as a real part of human behavior today. This is intended to hit home with those watching the play.
The cast and production staff of the Livingston Theatre Company feels strongly about the importance of these issues. Their reasoning for picking this play was to raise awareness of the urgent need of being open and talking about issues related to sexual discovery or abuse, and they believe it could benefit the constituents of the Rutgers community.
Julia Mendes, a Mason Gross School of the Arts junior, Livingston Theatre Company managing director and leading role in the play, had some choice words on the topic.
“Well I think the main thing is communication about issues regarding sexuality,” Mendez said. “In the show, there were dire consequences when the characters weren’t able to communicate about these things, whether it was sexual discovery or sexual abuse, and that is why this should be important to the Rutgers community.”
The Livingston Theatre Company passionately pursued advancing the agenda of raising awareness about the issues being discussed in the play, and boldly reached out to the Rutgers Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance for co-sponsorship of the play.
“We are delighted that LTC reached out to us and look forward to working with them on other production, should the productions mesh with the issues we address,” said Ruth Anne Koenick, the director of the Rutgers Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance.
Previous to the start of the show, an announcement was made informing the crowd of the serious issues about to be brought up and encouraged anyone needing help or guidance to utilize the resources of the VPVA office. The conscious effort to really help the community was prevalent.