Waking up to adapted tale of teenage discovery
AN ABERDEEN theatre company which has been resting for 10 years is getting ready to spring back to life with the aptly-named musical Spring Awakenings. A cast of 16 local performers has been assembled to perform the Tony-award-winning Broadway hit, with not one member of the original Harlequin cast among them. Director Stuart Mearns is the company’s only link with the past – he treaded the boards in the 1990s in many of Harlequin’s hit shows including Assassins, Little Shop of Horrors, Hair and Company. With his wife Rachel Young, the pair now run the Aberdeen Academy of Performing Arts. Stuart said: “When I looked at the score of Spring Awakenings, I knew I couldn’t stage it with the kids from the Academy as the material is pretty controversial at times. “I needed to start again and stage it with a new company, but what I didn’t want to do was go and start up another theatre company because there are so many of them around these days. “I did a lot of thinking and then I was e-mailing Alan Duncan, who started Harlequin and now lives in Australia, and said ‘I wish Harlequin was still around. This would be the perfect show for us.’ Before long we’d come up with the plan to resurrect it, which we are now doing.” Spring Awakenings is a rock musical adaptation of the controversial 1891 text by German playwright Frank
Wedekind. Set in the strict and unforgiving late 19thcentury German society, the musical confronts issues of sexual awakening in teenage years and the frustrations of a group of youths who are trying to find their way in life, often in opposition to parents and teachers. Speaking about the strong themes tackled in the production, Stuart explained: “While the original text is over 100 years old, I think the messages Spring Awakening tells are still so important today. It’s a fearless piece that has challenged all of us in rehearsals just like I’m sure it will challenge audiences. It’s going to be a real experience!” Harlequin’s production is the North-east of Scotland’s premier performance, and staging it in Aberdeen was a long-held dream for Stuart, who said: “It’s a show I’ve always wanted to do. I’d heard of it, started doing a bit of research and when the rights came up, I jumped at it.” Harlequin Productions will perform Spring Awakening – A NewMusical – from March 16 to 19 at The Lemon Tree.
MONSTER: A previous Harlequin Productions stage show, Little Shop Of Horrors in 2001.
DIRECTOR: Stuart Mearns.