Exploring Spring Awakening: Week One, Blog Three (Written by Paisley ForsterSaunders)
Rounding out the last blog post for week one is an inside look at a member of our creative team’s process, our assistant director Paisley ForsterSaunders. Keep reading to find out more from behind the table and what makes Spring Awakening relevant today.
Hi! My name is Paisley ForsterSaunders and I am the Assistant Director for Spring Awakening, directed by Marie Tredway at Three Brothers Theatre. Like many people involved in theatre, I have been doing theatre for what feels like forever. I even went so far as to get a degree in it. However, Spring Awakening will be my first experience as part of a production team. All of my experience with theatre thus far has been as an actor, but for the first time I find myself as part of the team on the other side of the table.
With one week of rehearsals under our belt, the show is quickly going from design team discussions, lighting plans, and costume mockups to a living breathing piece of art. The missing piece was the cast, and what a cast it is! They are dedicated, kind, and oh so talented. For our first three rehearsals, we focused on script and song analysis, or to put it into theatre jargon, table work. Seated around our makeshift alley of folding tables, we read through Steven Sater’s haunting script and sang through Duncan Sheiks’ puberty stricken, contemporary rock music. As our fearless leader Marie Tredway guided the cast through these rehearsals of table work, she posed to us the all important question of Why? Why are we doing this show? How is it relevant? What is our purpose?
With a show like Spring Awakening that covers personally and politically sensitive topics such as abortion, teen suicide, teen pregnancy, and sexual abuse, it was important to find our show’s purpose in the world of today before we travel to the world of yesterday to follow the paths of the religiously oppressed pre-industrial German youth that the plot revolves around. As actor and director collaborated to find the deeper meaning and purpose of Spring Awakening through script and song analysis, the beating heart of our show began to emerge.
As these first rehearsals come to a close, I reflect on how, in the course of three evenings, the Spring Awakening cast has transformed from a group of strangers into a collaborative team of artists. In these rehearsals, we have embarked on this musical’s journey with stops along the way to discover the why, how, and what, that makes the story and characters of Spring Awakening still relevant and important today.