Ateneo blueRep's Spring Awakening musical hopes to empower youth
MANILA, Philippines – “Unless the people in power, give [the youth] a chance to be heard, mawawala 'yung future natin (our future will be lost).”
These were the words of director Missy Maramara as she introduced the Ateneo Blue Repertory's (BlueRep) 27th season finale, the alternative rock musical, Spring Awakening.
Based on the 1891 play by Frank Wedekind, the musical is set in 19th century Germany with repressed teenagers trying to navigate their budding sexualities. More than a century later, Ateneo BlueRep still finds Spring Awakening relevant to the Filipino youth.
More than a century forward
During Spring Awakening's press launch last March 14, Maramara discussed the relevance of the musical’s theme despite being staged after more than a century.
“[Spring Awakening] was very risky back then because this was talking about the sexuality of these young adolescents … and it was very repressive,” Maramara said.
She added that even with the vast technology and media the contemporary era has, the youth are still repressed in terms of dealing with their sexualities. Spring Awakening aims to validate the experiences of the youth.
The 2019 production of Spring Awakening is Ateneo BlueRep’s second staging of the musical. The first was in 2013.
Maramara said that the musical allows a critical discussion on topics branded as “taboo” such as suicide, premarital sex, incest rape, and abortion.
She further explained that there is a need to talk about these topics with critical thinking.“Isipin natin (Let’s think) beyond morality, kung paano tayo makakatulong sa mga taong dumadaan dito (how we can help people who are going through this),” she said.
Musical director Ejay Yatco also spoke about generation gaps and how he thinks that there still are topics that the public will always refuse to talk about.
“Maging bukas tayo. Maging mulat tayo.”
Maramara explained how there is an urgent need to grasp the message of Spring Awakening.
She said that there is a need to go back to what it means to be young, lost, and in need of guidance despite wanting to make a difference. “Sometimes, our adults now are like children... Nakakalimutan nila na mayroong mga nangangailangan sa kanila ng tulong nila. (They forget that there are children who need their help.)” she says.
Maramara also said that the country’s socio-political climate now focuses on the “big” and the “loud” people who make decisions that “affect everybody.” She said that unless these people allow the youth to make choices and to be heard, the country’s future will continue to be in danger. (READ: House lowers minimum age of criminal responsibility to 12)
Recently, experts and youth groups railed against the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12 years old. Legislators ignored years of research which say that exposing children in conflict with the law (CICLs) with the juvenile justice system poses them more harm than good. (READ: Why experts strongly oppose lowering the age of criminal responsibility)
Maramara invites viewers from all ages to share in Spring Awakening’s vision of showcasing the young and their experiences.
“Maging bukas tayo. Maging mulat tayo… hindi para sa sarili natin pero para sa kinabukasan ng kabataan natin… (Let’s be open. Let’s be conscious not for ourselves but for the future of our youth.)” Maramara said.
The cast is led by Ian Pangilinan and Sandino Martin as Melchior, and Erika Rafael and Krystal Kane as Wendla. The musical is co-directed by Darrell Uy.
Ateneo Blue Repertory’s Spring Awakening runs from March 29 to April 14 at the Hyundai Hall, Areté, Ateneo de Manila University.– Rappler.com
Jillian Siervo is a Rappler intern. She is a senior high school student under the General Academic Strand at the Ateneo de Manila University.