USF performance flirts with sexual issues

The USF Student Theatre Production Board (STPB) produced a masterpiece with its rendition of Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening on Friday night. Lead actors and performance majors Ashley Enfinger and Nic Carter delivered standout performances and their chemistry gave the audience a vivid look into the frustration of sexually maturity in the mind of an adolescent.

Wedekind’s Spring Awakening is a play about the conflict between the inevitability of sexuality and the desire to protect youthful innocence. Director and Vice President of STPB Megan Lamasney appeared to value the overwhelming need for communication between parents and children, especially during puberty.

“What we want to communicate to our audience is the vital need for adults and parents to be in touch and communicate with their children at this important time in their life,” Enfinger said.

Spring Awakening revolves around the exploitation of childhood and the corruption of adolescence in 1892 Germany. The play explores issues of adolescent rape, physical abuse, masturbation, teenage sex, abortion and suicide. Despite the dark subject matter and dated penning, the subject matter seems all too relevant in today’s society.

Throughout the performance the audience can see how situations are ignored and mishandled by the children’s parents. As the youths struggle with their moral dilemmas, it is difficult not to be moved by the universality of their situations.

“Even older generations that come to see the show can relate to the adolescent characters,” actress Claudia Rosales said.

Wedekind brings the uneasy transition from childhood to adulthood to the surface through his writing. This transition is the heart of the play.

“In this transition, the children characters seek answers and guidance from their parents, who in return neglect their children for the sake of their own pride,” actor Randall Walker said.

Wedekind’s work raises the questions of when it is appropriate for parents to discuss sex-related issues with their children and who is to blame when children make misguided decisions.

“Honestly, there are many enigmas surrounding this whole subject. What is the right age to talk to your children about sex? Is it appropriate in schools to talk about it? It is tough to be the judge,” actor Daniel Rosenstrauch said. “One can’t really blame the adults too much for wanting to protect their children and doing what they believe is best. On the other hand, one can’t blame the children who are coping blindly with the powerful changes of puberty. It’s just nature taking over.”

STPB succeeded in relaying a powerful message to the audience. The play demonstrated STPB’s talent and maturity in taking artistic risks to bring attention to important topics.

Information about future STPB productions can be found at the USF Student Theatre Production Board group page on