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Apprentice Players to Present Spring Awakening in April

March 3, 2020

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- The SUNY Orange Apprentice Players will present “Spring Awakening” by Frank Wedekind in a new adaptation by Dakota F. Cohen set in the late 1950’s. The play will be on stage at the William and Helen Richards Theatre at Orange Hall on the College’s Middletown campus during the weekends of April 10-11 and 17-19.

“Spring Awakening” is a seminal work in the history of theatre. It was written in 1891, but due to its explosive subject matter did not receive its first performance until Nov. 20, 1906, when it carried the sub-title “A Children's Tragedy.” Wedekind startled the German public with his critique of the repressive German culture and how it fueled adolescent distress. The play explores the conflict between adolescent sexual longings and conferred adult awkwardness.  Superficially there is a great difference between Wedekind’s society and ours, but the play has a continuing vitality and relevance in its extraordinary understanding and depiction of the adolescent mind where innocence masquerades as worldliness and doubt is camouflaged by conviction.  

Cohen’s adaptation has moved the story into the 1950’s when post-war America stood at the summit of the world. The illusory and ubiquitous imagery of American television purveyed the ideal nuclear family to the world and embedded it in the American psyche; a pipe smoking, briefcase-toting father, and a pearls-wearing housewife who raised mischievous boys and obedient girls coping with a quaint world of cliched problems and simplistic solutions. As humorous as it is in retrospect, it doesn’t always work out for the best as children are left to reconcile their longings with the fantastical imagery of life they have been shown.  

“Spring Awakening” deals with adult themes of sexuality and violence and may not be suitable for children. 

Under the direction of SUNY Orange theatre professor David Cohen, “Spring Awakening” will be performed on Friday and Saturday, April 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m.; and on Sunday, April 19 at 3 p.m. There is no performance on Easter Sunday (April 12). The audience is invited to stay for a talk-back with the director and cast following each Saturday evening performance.

Tickets are required to enter the theatre, regardless of age. Cash, check, or major credit cards are accepted at the box office, which opens one hour before curtain time. Ticket prices are $12 for adults; $10 for seniors, faculty/staff, and alumni; and $4 for students. Active duty military are admitted free. Student tickets are available at the box office only.

All other tickets may be purchased in advance online. There is a $2.50 service charge per ticket for online orders. Tickets can be printed at home or picked up at the box office. For group prices (10 or more), call (845) 341-4790.

For more information, contact Max Schaefer at (845) 341-4790. For updates on all cultural and artistic events at SUNY Orange, visit “The Arts at SUNY Orange” Facebook page. The William and Helen Richards Theatre at Orange Hall is universally accessible.  Parking is available in the College parking lot at the intersection of Wawayanda and Grandview avenues.