“Spring Awakening,” a rock musical currently staged by the University of Mary Washington theatre and dance department, is controversial to say the least.
The show is based on a German play from 1891 that was banned due to its graphic and unbridled look at the complicated themes of burgeoning sexuality, rape and suicide.
The musical version, debuting on Broadway in 2006, faced equal parts criticism and praise for its candid portrayal of the same themes.
The show is set in late 19th century Germany and centers on a group of teenagers experiencing the confusion and complexity that accompanies the discovery of their budding sexuality.
The play discusses these themes within the context of an era in which youth were kept in the dark and adults avoided the necessary discussions.
Despite the controversial aspects associated with the show, the message put forth is as important in modern day America as it was in 1891 Germany. Sexual ignorance fosters dangerous situations and education is imperative for safe and healthy practice of sex.
However, statistics also show that teenage sexual activity remained steady, at 47 percent, since 2002. John Santelli, professor of population and family health at Columbia University, spoke with NBC News and connected the decline in teenage birth rate to greater access to birth control, especially noting doctors’ increasing recommendation of the IUD to prevent pregnancy.
This statistics reveal that it is not evident that teenage sexual activity will decrease dramatically now or anytime in the near future.
However, increased conversation on the consequences of unsafe sex and educated recommendation of safety measures can prevent some ill effects.
While we do not by any means advocate sexual activity for those who may not be ready, we find that acknowledgment of the situation is imperative, and providing the necessary tools of protection can preemptively prevent difficult situations.
We at the Bullet commend the show for tackling such difficult issues and maintaining this important dialogue. The extreme situations portrayed in the show are unfortunately occurrences still present today.
The play demands acknowledgment of the dark aspects of life and sex, and reveals the importance of open discussion to both prevent certain occurrences and assist in overcoming horrendous circumstances.