Spring Awakening

Middle Tennessee State University
Department of Theatre and Dance
Tucker Theatre
April 2019

Direction by Heather Ondersma
Musical Direction by Angela Tipps
Choreography by Meg Brooker
Costume Design by Tommy Macon
Lighting Design by Darren E. Levin
Scenic Design by Scott Boyd
Stage Management by Kate Goodwin

Spring Awakening is the musical adaptation of the 1891 German play of the same name.  The show is a coming of age story, following the development, missteps and triumphs of teenage children discovering their sexuality and purpose in life.  Tough and challenging topics are also presented as the teens experience life including homosexuality, suicide, abortion, and the power structures of society. To tackle these challenging topics, the show is presented through book scenes anchored in the 1890’s juxtaposed against rock/popular music motifs from the early 2000’s.

The lighting design concept for Spring Awakening is inspired heavily by the juxtaposition of book scenes and songs with visual research referencing both German Realism and German Expressionism artwork of the late 1800’s.  The book scenes are anchored by conventional incandescent instrumentation allowing for the historical and period feel to the production.  High side and down light angles were utilized with unsaturate cool, amber and lavender tones to create the essential framework and sculptural nature of the scenes. A system of down templates allowed for intense isolation in transitional and intimate scenes.

Arc source moving lights combined with LED static and LED moving instrumentation to create the intense coloration and movement needed for musical numbers. This instrumentation allowed for the movement needed to reinforce the rock/popular music that drive the show. Additionally, these fixtures allowed for the achievement of deep saturate colors adding to the dramatic nature of many of the songs.  Systems of moving lights equipped with an array of templates allowed for isolation in the musical numbers as well as numerous moments of concert style movement.

The use of texture is a key element of collaboration between scenic, costume and lighting for this production. LED profile units were utilized across the walls to bring forward and recede the natural texture created in the paint treatments and finishing applique. Color also plays a key role on the walls in mirroring the psychology and emotions conveyed by each character. An additional set of LED strip lights was hidden behind the walls and bookcases to allow for a dynamic four-layer color effect on the walls and cyclorama.