Students prepare for first all-female production of ‘Spring Awakening’

Anika Bhavnani October 20, 2015 Comments Off on Students prepare for first all-female production of ‘Spring Awakening’
Students prepare for first all-female production of ‘Spring Awakening’
"Spring Awakening" actors gather around Wakeham and Dohr as the two rehearse one of the mature scenes in the musical. "It is a very overwhelming part but I love it," Wakeham said. Photographer: Anika Bhavnani '17

Archer girls have been working hard to prepare since arts teacher and sixth grade dean Reed Farley announced “Spring Awakening” as the musical for the 2015-2016 school year. Since the first day of school, students have congregated in the Black Box theater after school and on Saturdays to rehearse for the musical.

“Spring Awakening” has never been done professionally with an all female cast, according to Farley.

Farley said, “I don’t think of any of our productions as all-girls. I take each piece for what it is and do my best to interpret the text. It just so happens that it is with all females.”

I think the most interesting aspect has been doing a show about teenagers with teenagers,” Farley said. “So often, it’s done with adults. So to see it done with students that are the age of the characters has been surprising, in terms of really elevating the emotional resonance of the piece.”

One of the main leads in the musical, Lulu Cerone ’17, decided to create a documentary to record this experience.

“It is just such an interesting thing to have an all female cast of ‘Spring Awakening.’ That has definitely never happened before, and I think that is relevant socially as well,” she said.

Created by Carly Feldman '17.

Lulu Cerone ’17 poses as her character, Moritz, on the “Spring Awakening” poster. The poster captures Mortiz’s angsty personality. Created by Carly Feldman ’17.

Cerone is playing her favorite character, Moritz, whom she has loved long before Farley announced that they would be performing the play. The main reason that she wanted to do the show was to play Moritz.

Moritz is neurotic and anxious outsider. He does not like school and because of that, his school administration does not like him, she said.

I think what I like most about him is that he has amazing songs which originally drew me to his character. It’s weird articulating it because I have loved this character for so long and feel like I have had this connection to him which sounds really dark because he is suicidal,” Cerone said.

“He is sort of this crazy and a confused teenager who doesn’t know what is happening to him. And I kind of feel like that too,” she said. “It’s really cathartic at the end of the day to come down to the black box to let off some steam. So its a great release.”

Cerone has been doing musical theater since she was eight years old and she has been doing Archer musicals since seventh grade.

Hollis Dohr ’17, another lead in the musical, is full of anticipation for the show. Dohr plays a teenager who is headstrong and enigmatic.

“It’s a lot of responsibility because the character that I am playing has so much depth to him and I just want to do him justice in his experiences. So I am just excited more than anything to see where it goes,” Dohr said. 

“I have such an amazing cast that I can rely on. I am really glad because he has awesome songs and moments in the show, but he also has such an emotional development in the show. I am nervous but excited,” she said. 

Billie Wakeham and Hollis Dohr share a moment on stage during rehearsal. ADD SOMETHING ELSE. Photographer: Anika Bhavnani '17

Billie Wakeham ’17 and Hollis Dohr ’17 share a moment on stage during rehearsal. This is one of many scenes that is meant for a mature audience and contains heavy content. Photographer: Anika Bhavnani ’17

Dohr shares Cerone’s love of Archer theater.

I have always loved musical theater, and it is definitely my passion. I love being part of the productions at Archer because they are always so great,” Cerone said.

Dohr has done musical theater since she was six years old and has done Archer musicals since seventh grade.

Billie Wakeham ’17, who plays Wendla, another lead, also commented on her experience with the musical. Wendla is an innocent teenager who is curious and naive.

“It is important to have powerful emotions, but you can’t attach your own realities to the situation,” Wakeham said.

Wakeham went to go see “Spring Awakening” when the musical was in Los Angeles and loved the performance. She had the opportunity to meet the cast, and the performers were fascinated when she told them she was doing the musical with an all female cast.

Wakeham believes that because this is a controversial play, people question if it is even possible to put it together with an all-girl cast. She finds it unique that Archer can do such a thing, and believes that it really stands with Archer’s mission.

“It is a very heavy show, it is a sad one,” Tracey Thompson ’16, assistant director said. “As a teenager I have a very different perspective. As a teenager, I think that it is a lot easier to watch as there is a very relatable aspect to the angsty sadness of it all, which is nice.”

Due to some of the intense material and sexual content, stage manager Carly Feldman ’17 advised that this show is intended for a mature audience.

“Spring Awakening” runs Nov. 13 and Nov. 14.

Below is a preview of one of the songs from the show called “Dark I Know Well” sung by the Archer cast.

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