Following last year’s smash hit production of 1984, Headlong return to the Playhouse with a radical new version of Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening next week. Described as “unnerving, entertaining, funny and dark”, the play – probably best known for its musical version – comes to the Liverpool Playhouse from May 13 to 17.
Writer Anya Reiss has created a modern adaptation which sharply evokes the sexual precociousness and confused raw tension of teenage life today (“who cares if people walk out?” she said in an interview about the production). Spring Awakening caused riots when it exploded onto the stage in 1906; brought bang up-to-date by Headlong this fresh new version examines the exuberance, intensity and confusion of adolescence, asking questions about how young people are shaped for their future by a generation that doesn’t understand them.
Reiss said: “It was about teenagers being gay, getting pregnant, crumbling under exam pressure, beating each other, killing themselves and above all being lied to by adults. Somehow it all remains true, looking at my list of what the play is about, we can’t pretend that any of that doesn’t still happen. It’s all sex and death really.”
Anya Reiss is winner of both the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Most Promising Playwright, and her plays include The Seagull (Southwark Playhouse), Forty-Five Minutes (National Theatre Connections), and Spur of the Moment (Royal Court). Director Ben Kidd was the winner of the 2012 Genesis Future Directors Award at the Young Vic, and is also co-founder of Dublin-based Dead Centre. His directing includes The Shawl (Young Vic), Anne and Zef (Salisbury Playhouse), and Richard III (Riverside Studios).
The ensemble cast is Aoife Duffin, Claudia Grant, Bradley Hall, Oliver Johnstone, Ekow Quartey, Ruby Thomas, Adam Welsh and Daisy Whalley.
This latest production follows Headlong’s recent sell out productions of new plays Chimerica, American Psycho and 1984. For tickets and information, go to the Playhouse’s website.