Spring Awakening: A Midwest Children's Tragedy is a new play that takes up the issues of adaptation, translation, and temporality in regards to Frank Wedekind's Frühlingserwachen, a play infamous in its revelry in controversy and unflinching nature in the face of social issues many would prefer to ignore. Several modern adaptations of the original text exist, but none have utilized the 2020s as a setting nor have they used the fertile landscape of the American midwest as a background.
This play, set in Toledo, OH, leans into the Wedekindian tradition of cutting social criticism and controversy in its exploration of issues affecting American midwestern teenagers today, like the intricacies of consent, the unexpected depths of human trafficking, the trauma of growing up queer in a small town, and the failings of the modern mental health care system. Confronting the cultural reception of the original text and honoring its intent and structure, Spring Awakening: A Midwest Children's Tragedy puts a much-needed modern spin on a founding text of the German expressionist movement of the late-1800s.
Dr. Erin Labbie
First Advisor Department
Dr. Kristie Foell
Second Advisor Department
World Languages and Cultures
Nighswander, Lena, "Spring Awakening: A Midwest Children's Tragedy" (2022). Honors Projects. 818.
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