ISU Theater: ‘Spring Awakening’

Haley Brasé

“Spring Awakening,” a play about a controversial topic of communication between mother and daughter, will be performed Oct. 3 to 5 and 10 to 12. 

Wendla Bergmann is the 14-year-old daughter of Frau Bergmann. Wendla, played by Emmy Cuvelier, was informed she was pregnant from her own mother. Frau Bergmann, played by Kim Paul, is a modest, caring mother to Wendla. Frau did not inform Wendla about conceiving a child, so she did not know it was possible for her to become pregnant.

Georg Litschnitz, played by Taylor Sklenar, is Wendla’s age and goes to school with her.

“It’s turn-of-the-century Germany, which was sexually repressed at the time,” Sklenar said. “Passing on the information from parent to child was hushed up — very hush, hush.

“It’s the result of what can come out of such a repressive time and culture. It’s about kids learning to open up and coming into bloom, and what they learned or aren’t able to learn because of their environment.”

The play represents how important communication is, and Stacy Hansen, guest director, agreed with that concept.

“Adolescence should be a time of complete curiosity and playing and growing, all in a permissive environment. Unfortunately, society — teachers, politicians, parents — don’t always embrace that idea,” Hansen said. “If we don’t, the circumstances, the consequences, can be absolutely dire. So again, the responsibility on us-as parents, as politicians, as educators, as a society-we truly we have to take care of our youth.”

Hansen, an ISU alumna, was asked to be a guest director for the play in honor of ISU Theatre celebrating 100 years.

“It’s an absolute, beautiful honor … [It’s] extremely gracious to be able to do this, because so much of who I am absolutely came from this very place,” Hansen said. “It’s kind of like a full circle … This is my home.”  

The theater is also a home for many other students, not all majoring in performing arts but have an interest in theater. The whispers of the actors’ footsteps may be silent, but their true connection to their character is loud and clear. The environment is consistently filled with joyous and intense energy.

Melchior, played by Christopher Kent, goes to school with Wendla. Melchior rapes Wendla, which leads to her pregnancy. Melchior understands sexual reproduction, unlike Wendla, who asks her mother where babies came from several times.

Wendla’s mother would never tell her. Once it was pronounced Wendla was pregnant, her mother was in disarray. Talking about the birds and the bees was not a common conversation to have between mother and daughter in the 19th century.

“Anything we do for youth, anything, will never go wasted. Children are always watching, learning from adults. I love that message,” Hansen said. “I absolutely do. I love that reminder that the play gives us, we as adults. It’s our responsibility to bring up the next generation with love.”

Proving that communication is an important benefactor, it is still overlooked in the 21st century, especially when talking about sexuality.

“Spring Awakening” is at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3, 4, 10 and 11 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 5. All performances are at Fisher Theater. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $11 for students. Tickets can be bought at the Iowa State Center Ticket Office and online at They will also be available at the door in Fisher Theater before the show.