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Spring's Awakening

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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  5,053 Ratings  ·  259 Reviews
Spring's Awakening is a tragi-comedy of teenage sex. Its fourteen-year-old heroine, Wendla, is killed by abortion pills. The young Moritz, terrorized by the world around him, and especially by his teachers, shoots himself. The ending seems likely to be the suicide of Moritz's friend, Melchior, but in a confrontation with a mysterious stranger (the famous Masked Man) he fin ...more
Paperback, 126 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Applause Theatre & Cinema Book Publishers (first published 1891)
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Anna There is a bisexual character and at least one mlm couple. (Arguably two, but the other is only mentioned as a past event.)

Many people believe that…more
There is a bisexual character and at least one mlm couple. (Arguably two, but the other is only mentioned as a past event.)

Many people believe that Moritz is not heterosexual (some say ace, others gay), but that just depends how you read him. His queerness is hinted at more in the musical adaptation by Steven Sater.

Because of the style of Wedekind's writing, you can read almost all of the characters as LGBTQ+ if you're looking for it.(less)

Community Reviews

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Jan-Maat
Featuring abortion, suicide, a homosexual kiss and some masochism this play about German teenagers first published in 1891 is frequently still controversial when staged. I suppose teenagers will be teenagers whileaudiences will be disturbed that children don't remain so.
Greg
Dec 16, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
An interesting play, that's probably as taboo now as it would have been a hundred years ago. Teen suicide, sadistic and masochistic acts, teen sex, murder, moping, masturbation and depression. On top of all these 'disturbing' elements are some very humorous moments and wonderfully written moments of adult (as in grown-ups, not as a euphenism for dirty) banality and absurdity.
Yngvild
Jun 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
Usually, I find reading plays a poor second to seeing them performed, but some plays are simply unplayable. Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening (Frühlings Erwachen) comes into that category. Apart from the problem of most of the characters being young teenagers (adults playing children never works), the play needs space and quiet for the audience to think in. There is little of that in a musical or noisy West End show.

Like Ibsen, Wedekind briefly mentions events and then leaves us to fill in the b
...more
Robert
Apr 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german, drama
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nadja
Ein wichtiges Theaterstück heutzutage wie seinerzeit! Ich kann mir gut vorstellen, wie sogar das heutige Publikum eine getreue Aufführung des Stückes als skandalös bezeichnen würde.
Matt

The living are as such not to be pitied.

Don't let the title Spring Awakening fool you. This is an impressive piece about growing up. The underlying themes of this play are rather bleak. The issues are serious, deadly serious. Moral authorities –parents, school, church – are there to provide a compass for the adolescents, which eventually lead them astray, one way or another. In some cases the road to their respective hell is paved with good intentions, in other cases it's just plain ignorance. S
...more
Madison
This is genuinely a good translation, but as is always the case with Jonathan Franzen, does he really have to be such an asshole about it? No translation but his is worth reading; no interpretation of the text but his is valid. Get over yourself, dude.
Juushika
A controversial play published in 1891, not performed until 1906, and adpated into a musical in 2006, Spring's Awakening is the story of children facing the beginning of adolescence within the repressed culture of 1892 Germany. This edition, translated and edited by Bentley, contains a number of mini-essays by the editor on everything from the play's timeline to some of its key themes. This commentary is interesting if artless (and, combined with the sprinkling of typos, begs for an editor), pro ...more
Therese Bowes
Having read this after watching the musical, it frustrates me even further that the musical version turned the rape scene into a love scene.. (although I'm not really buying the love scene anyway because Wendla had no real understanding of what was going on in both the play and musical). The rest of the changes are minor in comparison, I guess, but there were a lot of them. I do love that the themes of sexuality, education, religion, etc are still prevalent today in the same exact ways they are ...more
Sean
Dec 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this - the original German play from the late 1800's - in anticipation of seeing the fawned-over new musical (which translator Jonathan Franzen is quick to dismiss as "insipid.") Dark, unique and sadly funny - I'd highly recommend this one to theater people, and caution others that it may in fact be too disturbing to be easily digested. My mind was spinning with thoughts of how you would stage the play today, and it was perhaps only this that prevented me from being truly disturbed. Capti ...more
Jim Dooley
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly fascinating set of plays. I know there are those who will bemoan the lengthy dialogue passages that almost seem to border upon histrionics. However, this was a very common style for drama at that time. Also, the delivery depends entirely on the performer, the director, and the stage presentation. Shakespeare can seem hammy when read, but exudes wonder when delivered well.

SPRING AWAKENING - Since its creation in 1910, this play has had many revivals ... including as a musical. It is
...more
Emma Getz
I haven't read a lot of plays but I don't think any that I have read have struck me as powerfully as this one did. I also come from a place of bias, since Spring Awakening is one of my favorite musicals, but the play held so many differences and actually was more impacting, in my opinion.

There are so many little details I want to talk about, but mostly, the narratives of loss of innocence, extreme repression, total moral ambiguity was crafted beautifully. The story of every single character was
...more
Insa
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-classics
Well since I love the musical „Spring Awakening“ I thought I might wanna give the book a go. I read it in one sitting and I really enjoyed it. Especially since I haven‘t really been reading a lot lately I‘m happy that this book surprised me so positively! It is so sexual and was most definitely a taboo back when it came out. But that‘s what makes it so interesting! God I loved it!
Susan
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
Adult failures of communication/empathy and a repressive educational system spell serious trouble for young men and women in this surprisingly modern 1891 play about adolescence. Read for Modern Drama class.
André Caniato
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everything happens so fast in the play that I caught myself wondering if it wasn't simply meant to be a musical. It is short and powerful, and I can only imagine how it was received in 1891. Its message, of course, is still very important today.
Rachael
Mar 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-stars
mediocre
Maeve Scannell
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Liked it but was not blown away but very interesting show for the time it was written challenging discussion of sexuality
Margarida
3,5 ⭐ ...more
Zack
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about several young teenagers in late 1800's Germany who are all coming to terms with what it means to be both children and adults; or at least somewhere inbetween. It's a story about exploring themselves both mentally and physically but also noticing the difference in their interactions and relations with other teenagers – and most importantly, their relation to the adult world and how the adults view and treat them and their questions and thoughts.

It's about the suicidal teena
...more
Phoebe
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is by far one of the most influential and moving pieces of literature i have ever read. Now, i will be honest- i saw the musical first. But, in my mind Spring Awakening the musical has it's own slot and Spring's Awakening the play has it's own as well. They are very very very different stories.

The play, despite being from a censored and cruel time in Germany's past, brings up many modern struggles. The tale of teens reaching puberty and discovering these bodies and emotions they didn't know
...more
B
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is the original, un-censored version of the script. I guess it was pretty controversial back in the day.

I have to say, I don't really see what all the big hot dog is about this script. People talk in paragraphs, not dialogue. I hate that. Have a conversation. People don't normally talk for 3 minutes and then stop and let the other person talk for 3 minutes in response to what they said.

I guess it would be disturbing to watch if you got a bunch of good, actual 14-year-olds to play the main
...more
kagali
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
"What good does it have to do? — We are fit for nothing more, neither good nor evil.”

Spring's Awakening is about mental and physical coming of age, hormone storm, sexual initiation as well as the hypocrisy of nineteenth-century bourgeois society.
This play was mired in controversy back in the day, due to its subject matter: abuse, suicide, homosexuality, rape. It is no surprise that it was banned and censored for a long time after being published.

The teenagers in the story are desperately tryin
...more
Sophie
I don't have much to say about this, it was a good, solid play. The message is obviously very important and the parents' absurd, behaviour made me really angry at points, which would indicate that the play did what it was supposed to do.

I wouldn't say I bonded with the characters very much, though Melchior and Moritz are probably the most relatable.

The course of the story scene per scene is a little foggy, especially in the second and third act. Sometimes I found myself wondering why certain sc
...more
Katja
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mal wieder ein "Klassiker": Wedekinds Drama war ein Skandal seinerzeit. Episodenhaft werden die aufkommenden sexuellen Regungen Jugendlicher mit einem starren Erziehungs- und Moralbild Erwachsener im ausgehenden 19. Jahrhundert kontrastiert. Für Jugendliche heutzutage unvorstellbar, daher ist es meiner Meinung nach umso wertvoller, dass das Stück nach wie vor auf den Bühnen gespielt wird. (Mai 2014)
Gitta
Jan 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book really shocked me when I first read it. It was assigned reading in school, and I just couldn't believe I was reading a book about teenage sex, about abortions, masturbation, in school! IN CLASS! In a book that was written a hundred years ago.
It just knocked me on the head.

One day I'll take the time to re-read it.
Katie
Mar 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm probably yet another reader who was 'Spring Awakening' on Broadway and decided to read the play after. I knew the musical adaption well, so I did a lot of comparing and contrasting of nuances as I read. Overall, I was underwhelmed by the play, but now I can say that I have read it.
❄ Pixelflocke ❄
Wedekinds "Frühlings Erwachen" war bei uns Schullektüre. Ich kann mich noch gut daran erinnern, in der 8ten Klasse hatte ich es gelesen und ich weiß noch genau, wie es mich damals begeistert hat.
Auch heute noch kehre ich immer wieder gerne zu dem Stück zurück. Es ist einfach großartig!
Lori
Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This play has it all: teenage sex/rape, abortion, masturbation, homosexual acts, suicide, bad grades!!! And it's all the grown-ups' fault!!!
Cary S
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This play will forever be synonymous with the second half of high school in my heart. Thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it walks a bit on the dark side...
Will Walton
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Franzen translation. The fact that this exists feels almost too good to be true.
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Benjamin Franklin Wedekind, usually known as Frank Wedekind, was a German playwright. His work, which often criticizes bourgeois attitudes (particularly towards sex), is considered to anticipate expressionism, and he was a major influence on the development of epic theatre.
More about Frank Wedekind

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“The fog is clearing; life is a matter of taste.” 41 likes
“I didn't ask to be born, and I don't owe God anything.” 21 likes
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