Stripping a production down reveals all its vulnerabilities. The beauty of this approach is that if the work is strong, its assets will make up for any money-gobbling features like scenery, effects, and venue. The Looking Glass Theatre’s off-off-Broadway production of Spring Awakening: A Sin of Omission is one of those productions that shines when nothing much more than writing and acting is on the table.
Coming off of the critically acclaimed and box office success that was the Broadway musical version of Spring Awakening (which was beautifully minimalist itself), attending this translation of Frank Wedekind’s original straight play at the Looking Glass Theatre produces a little culture shock. Descending the Hell’s Kitchen building’s basement stairs to a non-air conditioned black box theater, I admit this spoiled theatergoer momentarily grappled for the amenities of the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Yet upon first seeing Kyle Lampe’s bare-bones set, which boasts pretty much only a swing, I had a feeling I’d settle in comfortably.
Knowing the story, the simple presence of the swing reminded me of Wedekind’s characters, the tragic teenagers who, in the middle of their playful youth, long only for love and understanding. The nine young actors who embody upwards of 20 characters in the play convey Wedekind’s powerful emotions quite acutely. Read more