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ACT ONE
SCENE 1
Wendla is revealed in song light, as ifat a mirror. She gently
explores her newly maturing body, pulls on a near-transparent
schoolgirldress.
WENDLA:
Mama who bore me.
Mama whogave me
Noway tohandlethings. Who mademe sosad.
Mama, the weeping.
Mama, theangels.
Nosleepin Heaven, orBethlehem.
Some pray that, oneday, Christ willcomea-callin
They lightacandle, andhopethatitglows.
Andsomejustlie there, crying for him tocomeandfind
them.
Butwhen he comes, theydon't knowhowtogo ...
Mama who bore me.
Mama whogave me
No way tohandlethings. Who mademe so bad.
15
STEVEN SATER
Mama, the weeping.
Mama, theangels.
No sleep in Heaven, orBethlehem.
(The lights shift to the world of1891: a provincial German
livingroom. Frau Bergman suddenlyenters, beaming.)
FRAU BERGMAN: Wendla!
WENDLA: Mama?
FRAU BERGMAN: Goodness, look at you-in that ...that
kindergarten dress! Wendla, grown-up girls cannot be
seenstruttingaboutinsuch-
WENDLA: Let mewearthi.sone,Mama!Ilovethisone.It makes
me feel likealittle...faerie-queen.
FRAU BERGMAN: Butyou'realready...inbloom.
(Offher look) Now, sssh. You made me forget all our
goodnews.
Justimagine,Wendla,lastnightthestorkfinallyvisited
yoursister.Broughtheranotherlittlebabygirl.
WENDLA: Ican'twaittoseeher,Mama.
FRAU BERGMAN: Well,putonaproperdress,andtakeahat.
(Wendla startsout, hesitates.)
WENDLA: Mama,don'tbecross-don'tbe.ButI'manauntfor
thesecondtimenow,andIstillhavenoideahowithappens.
(Frau Bergman looks stricken.)
Mama,please.I'mashamedtoevenask.Butthen,whocan
Iaskbutyou?
FRAU BERGMAN:Wendla,child,youcannotimaginethatIcould-
WENDLA: But you cannotimagineIstillbelieveinthestork.
FRAU BERGMAN: I honestly don't know what I've done to
deservethiskindoftalk.Andonadayliketoday!
Go, child, putyourclotheson.
WENDLA: AndifIrunout, now, andask Gregor? Ourchimney
sweep...?
(A beaU
16
SPRING AWAKENING
FRAU BERGMAN: Very well, I'lltellyou everything.
Butnottoday. Tomorrow.Orthedayafter.
WENDLA: Today, Mama.
FRAU BERGMAN: WendlaBergman,Isimplycannot ...
WENDLA: Mama!
FRf\U BERGMAN: You willdriveme mad.
WENDLA: Why? I'llkneelatyourfeet, lay myheadinyourlap
...You can talk asi.fI weren'tevenhere.
(No response.)
Please.
FRAU BERGMAN: Very well, I'lltellyou.
(Wendla kneels. Flustered, Frau Bergman buries the girl's
headin her apron.)
WENDLA (Waits): Yes? .
FRAU BERGMAN: Child,I .
WENDLA: Mama.
FRAU BERGMAN: All right, then. Inorder for a womantocon-
ceiveachild...
You follow me?
WENDLA: Yes, Mama.
FRAU BERGMAN: For a womanto bear a child, she must...in
herownpersonalway,shemust...loveherhusband.Love
him, as she can love only him. Only him ...she must
love-withherwhole ...heart.
There. Now, youknoweverything.
WENDLA: Everything?...
FRAU BERGMAN ("Yes"): Everything.Sohelpme.
WENDLA (Not budging): Mama!
(The lights shift-weare back in the song world. Contemp-
orarymusic sounds. TheGirls appear. Wendla rises andjoins
them. Shedding her nineteenth-century formality, she sings,
as do all the Girls, in the manner ofa contemporaryyoung
woman.)
17
STEVEN SATER
WENDLA AND GIRLS:
Mama who bore me.
Mama whogave me
Noway to handlethings. Who mademesosad.
Mama, the weeping.
Mama, the angels.
Nosleepin Heaven, orBethlehem.
Some pray that, oneday, Christwillcome c l l i n ~
They lighta candle, andhopethatitglows.
Andsomejustlie there, crying for himtocome and find
them.
Butwhenhecomes, theydon'tknowhowtogo ...
Mama whobore me.
Mama whogave me
No way tohandlethings. Who mademe sobad.
Mama, the weeping.
Mama, the angels.
Nosleep in Heaven, orBethlehem.
SCENE 2
School. The Boys situprightattheirdesks, reciting from Virgil's
Aeneid. They stand,oneaftertheother, for theirrecitation.Herr
Sonnenstich walks theaisles besidethem, listening.
HERR SONNENSTICH: Again.
OTTO (Mid-recitation):
...visuperumsaevae memoremIunonisobiram ...
HERR SONNENSTICH ("Well done"): Better,HerrLammermeier.
Continue,HerrZirschnitz.
GEORG:
...multaquoqueetbellopassus,dumcondereturbem.
18
SPRING AWAKENING
HERR SONNENSTICH: HerrRilow. Fromthebeginning.
HANSCHEN:
Armavirumquecano,Troiaequiprimusaboris-
HERR SONNENSTICH: HerrRobel.And...
ERNST:
..Italiam,fato profugus,Laviniaquevenit
litora-
HERR SONNENSTICH: HerrStiefel.
(But, alas, Moritzis asleep.)
HerrStiefel.
MORITZ (Waking): Sir? ...
HERR SONNENSTlCH: Continue. Please. (Moritz hesitates) Herr
Stiefel...
MORITZ (Haltingly):
..Laviniaquevenit...
HERR SONNENSTICH: Yes ...?
MORITZ:
..litora...multumenim-
HERR SONNENSTICH:"Multumenim"?
MORITZ (Taking anotherstab atit):
..multumolim-
HERR SONNENSTICH (Losing patience): "Olim"?1 "Multum
olim"...?! Sothen,somehowthePiousAeneashas"already"
sufferedmuch"inthedays stilltocome"...?
(No response.)
HerrStiefel?
19
STEVEN SATER
(No response.)
Doyouhaveanyideawhatyou'resaying,HerrStiefel?
(Moritzis too mortifiedto respond. Melchior rises.)
MELCHIOR: If youplease!
HERR SONNENSTICH: Pardonme?
MELCHIOR (Covering gracefully): If you please, Herr Sonnen-
stich ...can't we at least consider"multum olim"as a
plausibleconjecturefor howthetextmightread?
HERR SONNENSTICH: Herr Gabor. We are hardlyhere todayto
conjecture about textual conjectures. The boy has made
anerror.
MELCHIOR: Yes. Butanunderstandableerror,sir.Indeed,if we
couldonlyentertainthefitnessoftheconjecture-
HERR SONNENSTICH:"Multumolim"?!
MELCHIOR: Look to the fresh rhetorical balance-"multum
olim"introducing"multa quoque"-aparallel, sir, between
what Aeneas has already suffered in war and those suf-
ferings onlandand seajustahead.
HERR SONNENSTICH: Herr Gabor, since the days of Servius,
Aulus Gellius, and Claudius Donatus-nay, since the
moment ofVirgil's death-our world has been littered
withmore thansufficient critical commentaryontextual
conjecture.
MELCHIOR: Withall respect,sir,areyouthensuggestingthere
is nofurther roomfor criticalthoughtorinterpretation?
Whyindeed,then,doweeven-
HERR SONNENSTICH (Striking Melchior with his teacher's cane):
I amsuggestingnosuchthing.IamconfirmingthatHerr
Stiefelhasmadeanerror.AndIamasking-nay,demand-
ing-that you emend his faulty text and proceed from
there.DoImake myselfclear?
(Melchior'sjawlocks.)
HerrGabor?
(No response. HestrikesMelchior more forcefully.)
20
SPRING AWAKENING
HerrGabor,doImakemyselfclear?
MELCHIOR: Yes, HerrSonnenstich:"litoramultumille."
HERR SONNENSTICH: Allofyou-togetherwithMelchiorGabor:
"Laviniaquevenit... "
BOYS:
...litora, multumilleetterrisiactatusetalto
visuperumsaevae memoremIunonisob ...
(The Boys' recitation grows louder, more insistent, more
numbing-as ifsomehow we were entering into Melchior's
psychic experience ofit. A bit ofcontemporary, electronic
music drifts through. Shimmeringsong light finds Melchior.
Heturns outandsings-likearocker in concert:)
MELCHIOR: BOYS:
Allthat'sknown ...iram;
In History, in Science, multaquoqueetbello
Overthrown passus,dumconderet
Atschool, athome, urbem...
by blindmen.
Armavirumquecano,Troiae
You doubt them, quiprimusab oris
Andsoon theybark Italiam,fatoprofugus,
andhoundyou- Laviniaquevenit
Tilleverythingyousay litora,multumilleetterris
is justanotherbad iactatusetalto
aboutyou. visuperumsaevaememorem
Alltheysay Iunonisobiram;
Is, "Trustin WhatIs multaquoqueetbello
Written." passus,dumconderet
Wars are made, urbem...
Andsomehow thatis
wisdom.

Andmoneyis theiridol,
Andnothingis okay unless it's scriptedin theirBible.
21
STEvr:N SATER
ButIknow
There's so much moreto find-
justin looking through myself, andnotat them.
Still, Iknow
To trustmyown true mind,
Andto say:"There'sa way through this... "
On J go,
To wonderandto learning-
Name the stars andknow theirdark returning.
I'm calling,
To knowthe world's trueyearning-
Thehungerthata childfeels for everythingthey'reshown.
You watch me-
justwatch me-
I'mcalling,
Andoneday allwillknow...
You watch me-
Justwatch me-
I'm calling,
I'm calling,
Andonedayallwillknow...
(Melchior's song concludes. As he rejoins the Boys in their
recitation, thelights shiftbackto theclassroom.)
BOYS AND MELCHIOR:
... multa quoque et bello passus, dum conderet urbem ...
HERR SONNENSTJCH (On to fresb matters): Thank you, gentle-
men. Now, if you please: "inferretque deos Latio ... " The
following seven lines of Pious Aeneas' journey. From
memory.
(The Boys begin scribbling. Herr Sonnenstich steps away.
Moritz tapsMelchior's shoulder')
22
SPRING AWAKENING
MORITZ (Sotto voce): Melchi, thank you.
MELCHIOR: It's nothing.
MORITZ: Still, I'm sorry. You didn't need to-
MELCHIOR ("Not to worry"; ironic): Think what Aeneas suffered.
MORITZ: But I should have known it. "Multum ille." It's just ...
I didn't sleep all night. In fact, I, uh, suffered a visit from
the most horrific, dark phantasm ...
MELCHIOR: You mean, a dream? ...
MORITZ: A nightmare, really. Legs in sky blue stockings,
climbing over the lecture podium.
MELCHIOR: Oh. Thatkind of dream.
MORITZ ("Indeed"): Have you ever suffered such ... mortify-
ing visions?
MELCHIOR: Moritz, of course. We all have. Otto Lammermeier
dreamt about his mother.
MORITZ: Really?!!
MELCHIOR: Georg Zirschnitz? Dreamt he was seduced by his
piano teacher.
MORITZ: Fraulein Grossebustenhalter?!
HERR SONNENSTICH (Suddenly, grabbing Moritz by the ear):
Moritz Stiefel. I need hardly remind you that, of all our
pupils, you are in no position to be taking liberties. I will
not warn you again.
(Moritz nods-absolutelypetrified. An intensealt-rockguitar
riffHerr Sonnenstich freezes. TheworldaroundMoritz comes
to a haltas concert-likelightfindshim.He turnsoutin song:)
MORITZ:
God, I dreamedthere was an angel, who couldhearme
through the waII,
As Icriedout-like,in Latin:"This is so notlifeat all.
Help me out-out-of this nightmare."Then Iheardher
silvercall-
She said:"justgive it time, kid. Icometo oneandall."
She said:"Give me thathand, please, andtheitchyou
can'tcontrol,
Letme teachyouhowto handleallthesadness in yoursoul.
23
STEVEN SATER
Oh, we'llwork thatsilver magic, then we'llaim itatthe
wall."
Shesaid:"Love maymakeyou blind, kid-butI wouldn't
mindatall."
(All theBoys except Melchior begin to move,joiningMoritz
oneby one, theirenergy buildingintoadance.)
MORITZ AND BOYS:
It's the bitch of living
With nothingbutyourhand.
Just the bitchof living
Assomeoneyoucan'tstand...
GEORG:
See, each night, it's, like, fantastic-tossing, turning,
withoutrest,
'Cause myday's atthe piano-withmyteacher andher
breasts;
Andthe music's, like, theonethingIcan evengetatall,
Andthosebreasts!I mean, God, please,justletthose
apples fall ...
BOYS:
It's thebitch of living
With nothinggoingon.
Just the bitchof living,
Asking:"Whatwentwrong?"
Do theythinkwe wantthis?
Oh-whoknows?
ERNST:
See, there'sshoweringin gym class ...
HANSCHEN:
BobbyMaler, he's the best-
Looksso nastyin those khakis ...
SPRING AWAKENING
ERNST:
God, mywhole life'S, like, some test.
OTTO:
Then there'sMarianna Wheelan-asif she'dreturn mycall.
HANSCHEN:
It'slike,justkiss someass, man-thenyoucan screw 'em
all.
(Melchiorjoinsthesong.)
MELCHIOR:
It's the bitchof living-
Andlivingin yourhead.
It's the bitchof living,
AndsensingGodis dead.
MORITZ AND BOYS: MELCHIOR:
It's the bitch ofliving You watch me-
Andtryingtogetahead. Just watch me-
It's the bitch of living- I'mcalling,
Andonedayallwill
know...
MORITZ:
Justgettingoutof bed.
MORITZ AND BOYS:
It'sthe bitch of living-
Andgettingwhatyouget.
Just the bitchof living-
MELCHIOR:
Andknowingthis is it.
MELCHIOR, MORITZ AND BOYS:
God, is this it?
Thiscan'tbe it.
Oh God, whatabitch!
24
25
STEVEN SATER
(The song ends. The lights shift back. The school day resumes.)
HERR SONNENSTICH: Gentlemen,turninyourverses,andclear
awayyourpersonaleffects.Iwillseeyoutomorrow,seven
A.M.
(HerrSonnenstich goes out. The Boys gather their books.)
OTTO (Heading out): Well,I'moff.
ERNST: Me, too.
HANSCHEN: I'llwalkwithyou, Ernst.
ERNST (Pauses, turns back): You will?
HANSCHEN ("Yes"; suggestively): We'llhuddleover theHomer.
MaybedoalittleAchilles andPatroclus...
(Hanschen leads Ernst off.)
GEORG ("Good night"): Melchior,Moritz.
MELCHIOR (Archly): HometoBach? ...
GEORG: FrauleinGrossebustenhalterwillnotbekeptwaiting.
(Georg shivers involuntarily, and goes. Melchior turns to
Moritzwith a wink, but Moritzwaves itaway.)
MORITZ: Ach, Melchi! SixtylinesofHomer, all thosequadratic
equations...I'llbeLIp allnightagain,hauntedbyanotherof
those...dreams.AndstillIwon'tget throughit.
MELCHIOR: Oh,yes.Your dream.
MORITZ ("The horror!"): Melchi,why-why-amIhauntedby
thelegs ofawoman? By thedeepeningconviction: some
darkpartofmydestinymaylie therebetweenthem?...
MELCHIOR: Allrightthen.I'lltellyou.Igotitoutofbooks.But
prepareyourself: it madeanatheistoutofme.
(A beat.)
So-
MORITZ: No no-nothere! Ican'ttalkit! No-domea favor:
write it down. All ofit. Conceal it in my satchel-after
Gymnastics -tomorrow.
26
SPRING AWAKENING
(A beat.)
If youlike,youcouldaddsomeillustrationsinthemargins.
(A beat.)
MELCHIOR: Top tobottom?
MORITZ:Everything.
(Headmaster Knochenbruch and his associate, Fraulein Knup-
peldick, stroll past and pause.)
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: Unfathomable.FrauleinKnuppeldick.
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: HerrKnochenbruch...?
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: Look at that. Melchior Gabor, a young
manofdistinctintellectualcapability-
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: Thoroughlydistinct.
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: Ayoung manwho could beour finest
pupil-
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: Ourfinest, HerrKnochenbruch.
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: But there he is, polluting himself,
cavortingaboutwiththat,that ...
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: Neurasthenicimbecile,MoritzStiefel?
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: Thank Heaven the upper grade only
holds sixty.
(HerrKnochenbruch and Fraulein Knuppeldick go off.)
SCENE 3
Late afternoon. A bridge in the countryside. Wendla, Martha, Thea
and Anna walk home, talking excitedly.
THEA (Mid-conversation): ... Andthebodiceinlace,withasatin
bowinback...
ANNA: Ooh! AndWendla-whatwillyouwear toGretaBran-
denburg'swedding?
WENDLA: Mamasaidwecannotgo.
27
'.IiIoo....-

STEVEN SATER
THEA: To Greta'swedding?!
MARTHA: Because she'smarryingthatforest inspector?
WENDLA: Mamafelt itwas alittleimproper.
ANNA: But,they'redeckingtheentiresanctuaryinorchidsand
chrysanthemums! ...
WENDLA: Mamasaidno.
(Anna and Thea exchangealook.)
ANNA: I certainlyhopeyourmamaapproves themanI marry.
THEA: AndthemanI marry!
WENDLA (Teasing): Well,weallknowwhoThealongstomarry!
MARTHA: MelchiorGabor!
THEA (uGimme abreak"): Andwhodoesn't?
ANNA (Still playful): Heisratherhandsome...
WENDLA: SO wonderful.
MARTHA (Her secret crush): But not so wonderful as that sad
soulfulsleepyhead,MoritzStiefel...
ANNA AND THEA: MoritzStiefel!?
THEA: How can you even compare them? Melchi Gabor, he's
sucharadical.You knowwhatthewhisperis?
(All theGirls lean in, eager to hear.)
Hedoesn'tbelievein anything. NotinGod.
(The Girlsgasp in wonder.)
NotinHeaven.
(Anothergasp.)
Not inasingle thinginthisworld.
(The Girls utterafinal, collective sigh.)
ANNA: They say he's the best, in everything. Latin, Greek,
Trigonometry...
THEA: Thebestpartis: he doesn'tcareawhitaboutanyofit...
28
SPRING AWAKENING
(Music begins-an innocent uptempo feel. The Girls turn
out-glisteningin girl-group light:)
WENDLA:
In the midstofthis nothing, this miss ofalife,
Still, there's thisone thing-justto seeyougo by.
MARTHA:
It'salmost like lovin'-sadas thatis.
THEA:
May notbe cool, butit'sso where Ilive.
ANNA:
It's like I'myour lover-or, more likeyourghost-
Ispend the day wonderin'whatyou do, whereyougo...
THEA:
Itryandjustkick it, but then, what can Ido?
We've allgotourjunk, andmyjunk isyou.
GIRLS:
See us winter walkin'-afterastorm.
It'schill in the wind-butit'swarm in yourarms.
We stop, all snowblind-maynotbe true.
Butwe'veallgotourjunk, andmyjunkisyou.
(The lightsshift,revealingGeorgathispiano.FrauleinGrosse-
bustenhalterhovers.)
FRAULElN GROSSEBUSTENHALTER: Well done, Georg. And now,
thePreludeinC Minor...
(Georg begins playing Bach's Prelude. As he does, Fraulein
Grossebustenhalter touches his hand. He lets out an illicit
sigh-a moment ofprivate bliss. The lights shift, revealing
Hanschen seatedin his bathroom, wearinghis nightshirt.He
pulls a reproduction ofCorreggio's 10 from his pocket. His
free handsneaks underhis nightshirt.)
29
STEVEN SATER
SPRING AWAKENING
.
L.
HANSCHEN (To 10/Desdemona): Have you prayed tonight,
Desdemona?Youdon'tlooklikeyou'repraying,darling-
lyingthere,contemplatingthecomingbliss...
(A knocking on the door. Hanschen freezes.)
HERR RILOW: Hanschen,you all right?
HANSCHEN: Mystomachagain, Father. ButI'llbefine.
HERR RILOW: Yes?
HANSCHEN: Fine.
HERR RILOW: Well,then.
(Herr Rilow goes. Slowly and steadily, Hanschen begins to
masturbate-building steam as the scene continues.)
HANSCHEN (To 10/Desdemona): Darling,don'tthinkItakeyour
murderlightly. Thetruthis, Icanhardlybeartothinkof
thelongnightsahead...Butit'ssuckingthemarrowfrom
mybones,seeingyouliethere.Motionless.Staringatme,
soinnocently.Oneofusmustgo-it'syouorme.
(The lights shift ...Fraulein Grossebustenhalter sternly
interrupts Georg's playing.)
FRAULEIN GROSSEBUSTENHALTER: No,no! Georg,please.Again.
Andthistime,bringouttheleft hand.
(Fraulein Grossebustenhalter touches his hand again-double
the bliss.
Hanschen dutifully switches hands-to the left.)
HANSCHEN: Darling, why-why-do you press your knees
together? Even now, onthe brinkofeternity? Don'tyou
seeit'syour terriblechastitythat'sdrivingmeto...
(A knocking atthe bathroom door. Hanschen freezes.)
HERR RILOW: Hanschen,that'senoughinthere.
HANSCHEN: Yes, sir.
30
HERR RILOW: Backtobed.
(Hanschen does not move.)
Son?
HANSCHEN: Oneminute.
(Hanschen waits, listening. Herr Rilow goes. Hanschen redoubles
his exertions.)
One last kiss. Those soft, white thighs those girlish
breasts...0,thosecruelcruelknees .
(Fraulein Grossebustenhalter claps, interrupting Georg's playing.)
FRAULEIN GROSSEBUSTENHALTER: Repetez, s'ilvousplait.
(Georg turns out and sings. We enterthe world of his fantasy.)
GEORG:
Well, you'll have toexcuse me, 1know it's so off,
1 love when you do stuff that's rude and so wrong.
(Fraulein Grossebustenhalter rips open her bodice, exposing
her bustier. Georg beckons her onto his lap and fondles her.
As he does, Hanschen turns out, in a world of his own:)
HANSCHEN:
1go up to my room, turn the stereo on,
Shoot up some you in the "you" of some song.
(The Girls surround Hanschen, dancing. Oblivious to their
charms, he only has eyes-and thumbs-for his 10. The Boys
join in, as avocal chorus:)
GIRLS, MORITZ, GEORG AND OTTO:
1 lie back, just driftin; and play out these scenes.
1 ride on the rush-all the hopes, all the dreams . ..
31
STEVEN SATER
ANNA:
I maybe neglectin'thethingsIshoulddo.
We'veallgotourjunk, andmyjunkis you.
BOYS AND GIRLS:
See, we stillkeeptalkin'-afteryou'regone.
You're stillwith methen-feelssogoodin myarms.
Theysayyougo blind-maybeit's true.
Butwe'veallgotourjunk, andmyjunkisyou...
(As the songreaches aclimax, so does Hanschen.)
It's like, we stop time. Whatcan I do-
We've allgotourjunk, andmyjunkisyou.
Andmyjunkisyou-
You-you-you.
SCENE 4
Evening. Melchior's study.A lamp burningon thetable. Melchior
sitsalone, writingin hisjournal.
MELCHIOR (Reading aloudas he writes): 16 October. The ques-
tionis: Shame.Whatisitsorigin?Andwhyarewehounded
byitsmiserableshadow?
DoesthemarefeelShameas shecoupleswithastallion?
Are they deafto everything their loins are telling them,
untilwegrant themamarriagecertificate?Ithinknot.
Tomymind,ShameisnothingbutaproductofEduca-
tion.Meanwhile,oldFatherKaulbachstillblindlyinsists,
ineverysinglesermon,thatit'sdeeplyrootedinoursin-
ful Human Nature. Which is why 1now refuse to go to
Church-
FRAU GABOR (From off): Melchior?
MELCHIOR: Yes, Mama?
FRAU GABOR (From off): MoritzStiefeltoseeyou.
32
SPRING AWAKENING
(Melchior sits up. Moritzenters, lookingpaleandagitated.)
MELCHIOR: Moritz?...
MORITZ: Sorry I'm so late. I yanked on ajacket, ran a brush
through my hair, and dashed like some phantom to get
here.
MELCHIOR: You slept throughtheday? ...
MORITZ ("Yes"): I'm exhausted, Melchi. I was up till three in
themorning-readingthatessayyougaveme,tillIcouldn't
seestraight.
MELCHIOR: Sit.Let merollyouasmoke.
(Melchior rollsMoritzacigarette.)
MORITZ: Look at me-I'mtrembling. Last night Iprayedlike
ChristinGethsemane:"Please,God, give meConsumption
andtakethesestickydreamsaway from me."
MELCHIOR: Withanyluck,he'llignorethatprayer.
MORITZ: Melchi, I can't focus-on anything. Even now, it
seemslike...Well,Isee,andhear,andfeel, quiteclearly.
Andyet,everythingseemssostrange...
MELCHIOR: But all thoseillustrationsIgave you-didn'tthey
helpilluminateyourdreams?
MORITZ:Theyonlymultipliedeverythingtentimes!Insteadof
merelyseeingStockings,nowI'mplaguedbyLabiaMajora
and-
(Frau Gaborenterswith tea.)
FRAU GABOR: Well,herewe are, withtea.HerrStiefel,howare
you?
ii,
MORITZ: Very well, thankyou,FrauGabor.
FRAU GABOR (Skeptical): Yes?
MELCHIOR (Busting him): Just think, Mama. Moritz was up,
readingallthroughthenight.
MORITZ: Uh,conjugatingGreek.
FRAU GABOR: You must take care ofyourself, Moritz. Surely,
yourhealthismoreimportantthanAncientGreek.
33
STEVEN SATER
(Indicatinghisbooks)Now, whathaveyoubeenreading,
Melchior?
MELCHIOR: Goethe'sFaust, actually.
FRAU GABOR: Really? At yourage? ...
MELCHIOR; It'ssobeautiful,Mama.
MORITZ ("Indeed"); So haunting.
FRAU GABOR: Still,Ishouldhave thought...
But surely, you boys are now ofan age to decide for
yourselveswhatisgoodfor youandwhatisnot.(Sighs)If
youneedanythingelse, children,callme.
(Frau Gaborgoesout.)
MORITZ: Well, yourmothercertainlyisremarkable.
MELCHIOR ("Yes, but"):UntilshecatcheshersonreadingGoethe.
MORITZ; IthinkshemeantthestoryofGretchenandherille-
gitimatechild.
MELCHIOR;Yes.Youseehowobsessively everyonefixesonthat
story.It'sasiftheentireworldweremesmerizedbypenis
andvagina.
MORITZ: Well,I am. All themore so, I'mafraid,sincereading
youressay. Whatyouwroteaboutthe...female ...Ican't
stop thinking about it. (Pulls out the essay) This part
here-isittrue?
MELCHIOR: Absolutely.
MORITZ: But,howcanyouunderstandthat,Melchi? Whatthe
woman mustfeel.
MELCHIOR ("Why not?"): Giving yourself over to someone
else? ...Defendingyourselfuntil, finally, you surrender
andfeel Heavenbreakoveryou? ...
(Moritznods.)
Ijustputmyselfin herplace-andimagine...
MORITZ ("You'vegot to be kidding"); Really?! (Flipping through
the essay-onediagram after another-increasingly mesmer-
ized) Whatitfeels like? ...for thewoman? ...
SPRING AWAKENING
(A twelve-string guitar sounds-subtle chords, a world of
longing. The Boys and Girls gather around Melchior and
Moritz in radiant light, singingandmovingas achorus. The
Boysholdcopies of Melchior's essay.)
MELCHIOR:
WhereIgo, whenIgo there,
No morememoryanymore-
Onlydriftingon someship;
The windthatwhispers, ofthedistance, to shore...
MORITZ:
WhereI go, whenI go there,
No more listeninganymore-
Onlyhymnsuponyourlips;
Amysticwisdom, risingwith them, to shore...
ERNST:
Touch me-justlike that.
Andthat-O,yeah-now,that'sheaven.
Now, thatI like.
God, that'sso nice.
Now lowerdown, where the figs lie ...
(Melchior turns bad? to Moritz. The lights shift back to the
lamplit study, but the Boys and Girls hover, singing quietly,
underscoringthe scene.)
MORITZ (Stillin hisprivatemomentwiththediagrams); ...Still,
youmustadmit...withallthediffering...(Mispronouncing,
with a"hardg")geni...geni...
MELCHIOR (Correcting his pronunciation); Genitalia?
MORITZ: Genitalia. It truly is daunting-I mean, how ...
everythingmight...
MELCHIOR: Measureup?
(Moritzlooks stricken.)
Fit?
34
35
1'11\

(More stricken,)
Moritz,notthatI'msayingImyselfhaveever-
MORITZ: Not that I'm sayingI wouldn't want ...Would ever
wanttonot- Wouldevernotwant ...
MELCHIOR: Moritz?
MORITZ: Ihavetogo!
(Moritzabruptlyrushes out.)
MELCHIOR: Moritz,wait-
(But he'sgone,)
(More tohimself)Moritz...
(Frau Gaborenters, andclears the tea.)
FRAU GABOR: Melchior,whatis it?
MELCHIOR: Nothing,Mama.
FRAU GABOR: HasMoritzgone?
MELCHIOR: Yes.
FRAU GABOR: Well,hedoeslookawfullypale,don'tyouthink?
Iwonder,isthatFaust reallythebestthingfor him?
(Frau Gaborexits.Melchiorshakeshishead, incredulous. The
worldrecedes. Allreenter the song.)
OTTO:
WhereIgo, whenIgo there,
No moreshadowsanymore-
Onlyyou there in thekiss;
Andnothingmissing, asyou'redrifting, to shore...
GEORG:
WhereIgo, when Igo there,
No more weepinganymore-
Only in andoutyourlips;
The broken wishes, washingwith them, to shore ...
36
SPRING AWAKENING
MELCHIOR AND MORITZ:
Touch me-allsilent.
Tell me-please-allis forgiven.
Consume mywine.
Consume my mind.
I'll tellyouhow, howthe windssigh ...
BOYS AND GIRLS:
Touch me-
GEORG:
-justtryit.
Now, there-that'sit-God,that'sheaven.
I'll loveyourlight.
I'llloveyou right...
We'llwanderdown where thesinscry...
BOYS AND GIRLS:
Touch me-justlike that.
Now lowerdown, where thesins lie...
Love me-justfor abit...
We'llwanderdown, where thewinds sigh ...
Where the windssigh .
Where the winds sigh .
SCENE 5
Afternoon.MelchiorandWendla discovereachotherin thewoods.
WENDLA: MelchiorGabor?
MELCHIOR (In disbelief): WendlaBergman?! Likeatree-nymph
fallen from thebranches.What are youdoing-aloneup
here?
WENDLA: Mama'smakingMaywine.IthoughtI'dsurpriseher
withsomewoodruff.Andyou?
37
STEVEN SATER
MELCHIOR: This is my favorite spot. My private place-for
thinking.
WENDLA (Starts away): Oh. I'msorry-
MELCHIOR: No-no.Please.
(Shepauses.)
So ...howhave youbeendoing?
WENDLA: Well,thismorningwaswonderful.Ouryouthgroup
broughtbasketsoffood andclothingtotheday-laborers'
children.
MELCHIOR: Irememberwhenwe usedtodothat.Together.
WENDLA:Youshouldhaveseentheirfaces,Melchior.Howmuch
we brightenedtheirday.
MELCHIOR: Actually, it's something I've been thinking a lot
about.
WENDLA: Theday-laborers?
MELCHIOR ("No"): Our little acts of charity. What do you
think,Wendla,canour SundaySchooldeedsreally make
adifference?
WENDLA: Theyhave to. Ofcourse. What otherhope dothose
peoplehave?
MELCHIOR: I don't know, exactly. But I fear that Industry is
fast determiningitselffirmly againstthem.
WENDLA: Against usall, then.
MELCHIOR: Thankyou,yes!
WENDLA: It seemstome: what serveseach ofus bestiswhat
servesallofusbest.
MELCHIOR: Indeed.
(A beat.)
Wendla Bergman, I have known you all these years, and
we'venevertrulytalked.
WENDLA: We have sofewopportunities.Nowthatwe'reolder.
MELCHIOR: True. In a more progressive world, ofcourse, we
couldall attendthesameschool.Boysandgirlstogether.
Wouldn'tthatberemarkable?
38
SPRING AWAKENING
(In the moment ofintellectual engagement, Melchior has
drawn so close to Wendla that shegrolVs self-conscious and
pulls back.)
WENDLA: Whattimeis it?
MELCHIOR: Mustbeclosetofour.
WENDLA: Oh?Ithoughtitwaslater.Ipausedandlaysolongin
the moss by the stream, andjustlet myselfdream ...I
thoughtitmustbe ...later.
MELCHIOR: Then,can'tyou sitfor amoment?Whenyoulean
backagainstthisoak,andstareupattheclouds,youstart
tothinkhypnoticthings...
WENDLA: Ihave tobebackbeforefive.
MELCHIOR: But,whenyou lie here, sucha strange,wonderful
peacesettlesoveryou ...
WENDLA: Well,for a moment maybe.
(Wendla and Melchior settle beneath the oak. The lights
shift, isolating them in a world ofvibrant shadow. A classic
arpeggiobegins.)
Just too unreal, all this.
Watchingthe words fall from mylips ...
MELCHIOR:
Baitingsomegirl-withhypotheses!
WENDLA AND MELCHIOR:
Haven'tyou heardthewordofyourbody?
1111j'
(Melchior reaches, tentatively, takes Wendla's hand. They
begin a privatepasdedeux.)
MELCHIOR:
Don't feel a thing-youwish.
WENDLA:
Graspingatpearls with myfingertips...
39
STEVEN SATER
MELCHIOR:
Holdingherhandlikesomelittletease.
WENDLA AND MELCHIOR:
Haven'tyou heardthe wordofmy wanting?
0,I'm gonna be wounded.
0,I'mgonna beyour wound.
0,I'm gonnabruiseyou.
0,you'regonnabe mybruise.
Just too unreal, allthis.
'VVENDLA:
Watchinghis worldslip through myfist...
MELCHIOR:
Playingwith her in yourfantasies.
WNDLA AND MELCHIOR:
Haven'tyou hearda word-howJ wantyou?
0,I'mgonna be wounded.
0,I'm gonnabeyour wound.
0,I'm gonna bruiseyou.
0,you'regonna be mybruise.
(The lights shift. Backto the woods.)
WENDLA: Thesun'ssetting,Melchior. Truly,I'dbettergo.
MELCHIOH (Touchesher): We'llgo together.I'llhaveyouonthe
bridgeintenminutes.
(She hesitates, then allows him to take her hand. They walk
offtogether.)
40
SPRING AWAKENTNr.
SCENE 6
The schoolyard. Georg,Hanschen, ErnstandOttowaitexpectantly.
OTTO (Pointing): Look-thereheis!
(Moritzbounds on.)
HANSCHEN: So,didyouget caught?
MOR[TZ: No-no-thankGod-
ERNST: But, you'retrembling.
MORITZ: Forjoy. For pure andcertainjoy!
GEORG (Sarcastic): Crossyourheart?
MOIHTZ: Twiceover!
(Melchior enters.)
ERNST: Melchior!
MELCHIOR: Moritz,I'vebeenlookingfor you.
GEORG: He snuckintotheheadmaster'soffice.
MELCHIOR: Moritz,whatwereyouthinking?
MOR1TZ: Ihadto,Melchi. Ijusthadto.
Thegood newsis:Jpassed!
HANSCHN: Themiddle-terms,that is.
MORITZ: Yes. Everythingwill nowbe determinedby the final
exams.Still,IknowIpassed.Truly,Heavenmustfeellike
this.
(Melchiorembraces Moritz. The lights shift.
Headmaster Knochenbruch is revealed, as ifin his office.
He turns to Fraulein Knuppeldick.)
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: Well, well. FrauleinKnuppeldick.
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: HerrKnochenbruch?
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: Nowthat ...that skittish,near-aphasic
moron...
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: MoritzStiefel.
41
STEVEN SATr.R
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH ("Indeed"): Has somehow passed our
middle-term exams, it would appear we face a certain
dilemma.
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: Ah.
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: Theuppergrade, aswe know, will hold
onlysixty.Ihardlythinkwe canpromotesixty-one.
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: Hardly, Herr Knochenbruch. But, let
uslooktothefinals ahead.
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: Yes? ...
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: Remember,itisI whoshallbemark-
ingthem.
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: ThenI amassuredthegoodnameofour
schoolis secure.
(Herr Knochenbruch and Fraulein Knuppeldick exchange alook.)
SCENE 7
Afternoon. A windy day. Wendla, Martha, Thea and Anna walk
arm in arm.
ANNA: Shallwe taketheshortway home?
THEA: No no-bythebridge.
WENDLA: Aftertwohoursmarchingwiththatmedicineball?!
THEA: Comeon!
ANNA (Teasing): Someone wants to see: has Melchi Gabor
takenaraft out?
THEA ("Even so"): Last one there has to hold hands with
Hanschen! ...
(The Girlsstart off.)
ANNA: Martha,careful-yourbraid'scomingloose.
MARTHA (Concerned): No.
THEA: Just let it. Isn't it a nuisance for you-dayand night.
You may notcutitshort,youmaynotwearitdown ...
WENDLA: Tomorrow,I'mbringingscissors.
42
SPRING AWAKENING
MARTHA: For God's sake, Wendla, no! Papa beats me enough
as itis.
WENDLA: Really?
MARTHA: No, no,1- It'snothing.
THEA: Martha...?
ANNA: Martha,we'reyourfriends...
(A beaU
MARTHA: Well, whenIdon'tdoashe likes...
ANNA: What?
MARTHA: Somenights...Papayanksouthisbelt.
THEA: Butwhereisyourmama?
MARTHA:"Wehaverulesinthishouse.Yourfatherwillnotbe
disobeyed."
(A beaU
The other night, I ran for the door. "Out the door? All
right,Ilikethat.That'swhereyou'llspendthenight-out
onthestreet:'
THEA: No!
MARTI-lA: Itwas socold.
ANNA: MyGod.
(A beat.)
WENDLA: Hebeatsyouwithabelt?
MARTHA: Anything.
WENDLA: Withabuckle?
MARTHA (Rolls up her sleeve): Right there...
ANNA: OhmyGod!
WENDLA: Martha,thewelts-they'reterrible.
ANNA: Wemusttellsomeone.
MARTHA: Anna,no!
ANNA: Butwe must.
MARTHA: No, no, please.They'dthrowmeoutfor good.
THEA: Like whathappenedtolise,youmean.
WENDLA: Remember!
43
STEVEN SATER
ANNA: But still...
MARTHA: Anna, no.
(Theutterdegradation)Justlookwhat'sbecomeofIlse
now! Livingwhoknowswhere-withwhoknows who?!
WENDLA: IjustwishIcouldsomehowgo throughitfor you...
(A beat.)
THEA: My Uncle Klaus says, "If you don't discipline a child,
youdon'tlove it."
MARTHA: Thatmustbe.
(A beat.)
ANNA: WhenI have children, I'lllet thembefree. And they'll
growstrongandtall.
THEA: Free? But how will we know what to doifour parents
don'ttellus?
(A menacingeighth-noteguitarriff. Thelights shift. Weenter
thesongworldof Martha.Hermother,Frau Bessell,castinga
long shadow.
Overthecourseof thefirstverses, Wendla,AnnaandThea
walkoff, oneaftertheother.)
FRAU BESSELL: Martha,timefor bednow.
MARTHA:
There is apartI can'ttell
Aboutthe darkI knowwell ...
FRAU BESSELL: Martha,darling...?
(No response.)
Put onthat new nightgown. Theprettyruffled one your
fatherboughtyou.
44
SPRING AWAKENING
MARTHA:
You say, "Timeforbednow, child,"
Momjustsmiles thatsmile-
'I
Just like she neversaw me.
Just likeshe neversaw me ...
I,
So, I leave, wantin'justto hide.
Knowin'deep inside
You are comin'tome,
You are comin'tome ...
You sayallyouwant isjusta kissgoodnight,
Thenyouholdmeandyouwhisper,"Child, theLord
won'tmind.
It'sjustyou andme.
Child,you'reabeauty."
"God, it'sgood-thelovin'-ain'titgoodtonight?
You ain'tseen nothin'yet-gonnatreatyou right.
It'sjustyou andme.
Child, you'rea beauty."
(A knockingon adoor. Ilse is revealedin songlight. Her father,
HerrNeumann, peersoutofthedark.)
HERR NEUMANN: Ilse ...?Ilse. Storytime.
:/
ILSE:
~
I don'tscream. ThoughI know it'swrong.
ii,
I justplayalong,
I lie thereandbreathe.
Lie thereandbreathe...
I wanna be strong-
I IVant tl1e IVorld tofindout
Thatyou'redreamin'on me,
Meandmy"beauty."
45
---- --
STeVEN SATER
ILSE AND MARTHA:
Meandmy"beauty"...
ILSE, MARTHA AND BOYS:
You sayallyou wantisjusta kissgoodnight,
Thenyou holdme andyou whisper,"Child, theLord
won'tmind.
It'sjustyou and me.
Child, you'rea beauty."
"God, it'sgood-thelovin'-ain'titgood tonight?
You ain'tseen nothin' yet-gonnateachyou right.
It'sjustyou andme.
Child, you'rea beauty."
There is apartIcan'ttell
AboutthedarkIknowwell.
There is apartIcan'ttell
Aboutthedark Iknowwell.
There is a partIcan'ttell
Aboutthe dark Iknow well.
There is apartIcan'ttell
Aboutthe dark Iknow well.. ,
(Blackout.)
SCENE 8
The woods. Melchior sits, writingin hisjournal.
MELCHIOR (Reading aloud as he writes): 27 November. The
troubleis: theterribleprerogativeofthe...Parentocracy
in SecondaryEducation...
(The lights shift, rising on Moritz in the schoolyard. Herr
Knochenbruch andFraulein Knuppeldicksummon him,)
46
SPRING AWAKENING
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: HerrStiefel,maywehavea wordwith
you'?
(Moritzstiffens.)
MELCHIOR (Continuingin hisjourna/): ...aworldwhereteach-
ers-likeparents-viewusasmerelysomuchraw mate-
rialfor an obedientandproductivesociety...
(Herr Knochenbruch and Fraulein Knuppeldick approach
Moritz, andaddress him in privateconference,)
. ..a unified, military-like body, where all that is weak
mustbehammeredaway ...
(Herr Knochenbruch and Fraulein Knuppeldick continue on
theirway, leavingMoritz looking like aghost.)
...wheretheprogressofthestudentsreflectsbackonly
onthe rank andorderofthefaculty, and thereforeasin-
gle lowmarkcanbeseenasathreatto-
(Moritzwandersoff-lost.Wendla approaches Melchior,)
WENDLA: Melchior'?
MELCHIOR (jumpsup, startled): You?! ..,
WENDLA (Shrugs): I waslyingbythestream,andthen...I saw
youhere ...
MELCHIOR: Yes.
(An awkwardpause,)
WENDLA: So .
MELCHIOR: SO thestream.Dreamingagain'? .,.
WENDLA: Iwas,Iguess.
MELCHIOR: And,whatwereyou dreamingoU
WENDLA: It'ssilly.
MELCHIOR: Tell me.
47
STEVEN SATER
WENDLA: I dreamed I was a clumsy little girl, who spilt my
father's coffee. And when he saw what I had done, he
yankedouthisbelt andwhippedme.
MELCHIOR: Wendla, that kind ofthing doesn't happen any-
more.Onlyinstories.
WENDLA: MarthaBessellisbeatenalmosteveryevening-the
next day, youcanseethewelts.It'sterrible.
Really,it makesyouboilinghottohearhertellit.Lately,
Ican'tthinkaboutanythingelse.
MELCHIOR: Someoneshouldfile acomplaint.
WENDLA: You know ...I've never been beaten. Not once.
Ican'tevenimagineit.It mustbejustawful.
MELCHIOR: Idon'tbelieveanyoneiseverbetterforit.
WENDLA: I've tried hitting myself-tofind out how it feels,
really, inside.
(Wendla seesaswitchon thegroundandpicks itup.)
Withthisswitch,for example?It'stough.Andthin.
(SheoffersMelchiortheswitch. He takes it. Tries it, through
theair.)
MELCHIOR: It'ddrawblood.
WENDLA: You mean,ifyoubeatmewithit? ...
MELCHIOR: Beat you?
WENDLA: Me.
MELCHIOR: Wendla,what areyouthinking?!
WENDLA: Nothing.
MELCHIOR: Icouldneverbeatyou.
WENDLA: ButifIletyou?
MELCHIOR: Never.
WENDLA: But ifIaskedyouto?
MELCHIOR: Haveyoulost yourmind?
WENDLA: MarthaBessell,shetoldme-
MELCHIOR: Wendla! You can'tenvysomeonebeingbeaten.
WENDLA: But I've never been beaten-my entire life. I've
never...felt ...
MELCHIOR: What?
48
SPRING AWAKENING
WENDLA: Anything.
(No response.)
Please. Melchior...
(She offers him her backside. He considers, then strikes her
lightly.)
I don'tfeel it!
MELCHIOR: Maybenot,withyourdresson.
(Wendlahikesherskirt,offeringMelchiortheprospectof her
somewhatmoreexposedbackside.)
WENDLA: Onmylegs, then.
MELCHIOR: Wendla!
WENDLA: Comeon.Please.
MELCHIOR: I'llteachyoutosay:"Please"...
(Hefirmlytakesherbythearm,andstrikesherwiththeswitch.)
WENDLA (Winces from thepain,but...): You'rebarelystroking
me.
(He strikesheragain.)
MELCHIOR: How'sthatthen?
WENDLA: Martha's father, he uses his belt. He draws blood,
Melchi.
(Melchiorstrikesheragain.)
MELCHlOR: How'sthat?
WENDLA (A lie): Nothing.
MELCHIOR: Andthat?
WENDLA: Nothing.
MELCHIOR: You bitch.I'llbeatthehelloutofyou.
49
III I ;i
I,',
I "I
'\
I"
STEVEN SATER
(Melchior flings the switch aside and throws Wendla to the
ground, so violentlythatshe beginssobbing.
Suddenly, herealizeswhathe'sdone. Hestumbles,sobbing,
intotheUJoods. OttoandGeorgare revealed, soulfulmembers
oftheband.)
OTTO (Gently):
0,you'regonna be wounded.
0,I'mgonna beyourUJound...
OTTO AND GEORG:
0,I'mgonna bruiseyou.
0,you'regonna be my bruise...
SCENE 9
TheStiefelsittingroom.Moritzapproacheshis father, Herr Stiefel.
MORITZ: Father...?
HERR STIEFEL: Moritz.
(Moritz remains silent.)
Yes ...?
MORITZ; Well, I, uh, was wondering-hypothetically speak-
ing-whatwouldhappenif...
HERR STIEFEL:"If ... "?
MORITZ: If, oneday, I, uh, failed. Notthat-
HERR STIEFEL: You'retellingmeyou'vefailed?
MORITZ; No-no!Ionlymeant-
HERR STIEFEL: You've failed, haven'tyou? Ican see it onyour
face.
MORITZ: Father,no!
(Herr StiefelstrikesMoritz.)
Father-!
50
SPRING AWAKENIN
(Herr StiefelstrikesMoritzagain. Andagain. He turnsaway
in disgust.)
HERR STIEFEL: Well, it's finally come to this. I can't say I'm
surprised.
"
I'
_"I
II '
(A beaU ~ \11 ,.
~
Failed.
l,lh ~
I",
1\'
(A beat.) I) ,"
i I:,
IIl
So,now, whatareyourmotherandIsupposedtodo?
(No response.)
Youtellme,Son.What?
(No response.)
Howcansheshowherface attheMissionarySociety?
(No response.)
WhatdoItellthemattheBank?
(No response.)
Howdowe gotoChurch?
(No response,)
Whatdowe say?
(No response.)
My son.Failed.
(A beat.)
51
-- ---
----------
STEVEN SATER
Failed.
(A beaU
Thank God my father never lived to see this day.
(The lights fade, andsimultaneously rise on ... )
SCENE 10
Twodiscrete spacesare revealed. Overthecourseof thescene, the
lights shiftbackandforth betweenthem.
Frau Gabor sits, as ifin herstudy, writinga letter.
Moritzstepsforward, on theotherside orthestage-in bril-
liant concert light-readingthatletter.
A driving beatunderscores thescene, building asMoritzsings.
FRAU GABOR: Dear Herr Stiefel-
(Thinksagain)Moritz, I've spent the entire day think-
ing about your note. Truly, it touched me, it did, that
you'd think of me as a friend. Of course, I was saddened
to hear that your exams came off rather less well than
you'd hoped, and that you will not be promoted, come fall.
And yet, I must say straightaway, that fleeing to Amer-
ica is hardly the solution. And even if it were, I cannot
provide the money you request.
MORITZ:
Uh-Iwh ... uh-huh ... uh-huh ... well, fine.
Notlike it'seven worth thetime.
Butstill,youknow,you wantedmore.
Sorry, itwon't change-been there before.
FRAU GABOR: You would do me wrong, Herr Stiefel, to read
into my refusal any lack of affection. On the contrary, as
Melchior's mother, I truly believe it to be my duty (to curb
this momentary loss 00-
52
SPRING AWAKENING
MORITZ:
The thing thatsucks-okaY?-forme,
A thousand bucks, I'm, like, scot-free.
AndI mean, please... That'sallI need.
Getreal-okay?By now, you know the score.
FRAU GABOR: Should you like, I am ready to write to your par-
ents. I will try to convince them that no one could have
worked harder last semester, and also that too rigorous a
condemnation of your current misfortune <Could have the
gravest possible effect on)-
MORITZ:
You wanna laugh. It's too absurd.
You starttoask. Can'thearaword.
You wanna crash andburn. Right, tell memore.
FRAU GABOR: Still, Herr Stiefel, one thing in your letter dis-
turbed me. Your-what shall we call it?-veiled threat
that, should escape not be possible, you would take your
own life.
MORITZ:
Okayso, now wedo theplay.
Actlike we so care. No way.
You'llwrite myfolks? Well, okay.Babe, that'showitgoes.
FRAU GABOR: My dear boy, the world is filled with men-busi-
nessmen, scientists, scholars even-who have done rather
poorly in school, and yet gone on to brilliant careers.
Consider, for example, that rare and estimable essayist,
Leopold Habebald-
MORITZ:
They're not myhome.Notanymore.
Notlike theyso were before.
Still, I'llsplit, and they'll, like ... Well, who knows?
Who knows? Who knows?
53
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STEVEN SATER
FRAU GABOR: In any case, Iassureyou thatyour present mis-
fortune will have no effect on my feelings for you, oron
yourrelationshipwithMelchior.
(The Boys stride forward, one after the other, and join
Moritz-arousingpunk-rockanthem.)
MORITZ AND HANSCHEN:
Uh-lwh ...uh-huh...uh-huh...well, fine.
Notlike it'seven worth the time.
Butstill,you know, you wantedmore.
HANSCHEN:
Okay, so nothing'schanged.
MORITZ:
Heard thatbefore.
MORITZ AND OTTO:
You wanna laugh. It's too absurd.
You startto ask. Can'theara word.
OTTO:
You'regonna crash andburn.
MORITZ:
Right, tell me more.
MORITZ AND ERNST:
You startto cave. You start to cry.
You try to run. Nowhere to hide.
GEORG:
You wanttocrumbleup, andclose thatdoor.
FRAU GABOR: SO, head high, Herr Stiefel. And do let me hear
from you soon. In the meantime, Iamunchangingly and
mostfondly yours,FannyGabor.
(Lights outon Frau Gabor. Moritz commands his post-punk
space.)
54
SPRING AWAKENING
MORITZ:
Just fuck it-right?Enough. That's it.
You'll stillgo on. Well, for abit.
Anotherday ofuttershit-
Andthen there were none.
MORITZ AND OTTO:
Andthen there were none ...
MORITZ, OTTO AND GEORG:
Andthen there were none...
MORITZ AND BOYS:
Andthen there were none ...
(Moritzwithdrawsagun from hisvest pocketandstridesoff)
SCENE 11
A minimalistelectronica motifsounds. Melchior is revealed in a
hauntedworldofsong. Distraught. Unable toshake the thoughtof
whathe'sdonetoWendla.Hehoundshisbodywithhishands. The
Boys look on, andjoinas achorus.
BOYS:
Flip on aswitch, and everything'sfine-
Nomorelips, nomoretongue, nomoreears, nomoreeyes.
The nakedblueangel, who peers through theblinds,
Disappears in thegloom ofthemirrorbluenight.
MELCHIOR:
Butthere's nowhere to hide from these bones, from mymind.
It's broken inside-I'ma man andachild.
I'm athomewithaghost, whogotleftin thecold.
I'm locked outofpeace, with no keys to my soul.
55
.......
----------
STEVEN SATER
BOYS:
Andthewhispers offear, thechillupthe spine,
Willstealawaytoo, witha flick ofthelight.
Theminuteyou do, with fingers so blind,
You remove everybitofthe blue from yourmind.
MELCHIOR ANO BOYS:
Butthere's nowhere tohide, from theghostin mymind,
It'scoldin these bones-of a man anda child.
Andthere's no one who knows, andthere's nowhere togo.
There's no oneto seewhocan see to mysoul...
(Wendla enters, holdingMelchior'sjournal. The lights shift
abruptlY-from a cool "mirror blue" to the warm light of
dusk-revealingMelchior in a hayloft.)
WENOLA: So, hereyouare.
MELCHIOR: Goaway. Please.
WENOLA: There's a storm coming, you know. You can't sit
sulkingin somehayloft.
MELCHIOR: Out.
(A beat.)
WENDLA: Everyone'satChurch.Rehearsingfor ourMichaelmas
chorale. Islippedout.
MELCHIOR: Yes. Well.
(A beaU
WENOLA: Your friend Moritz Stiefel is absent. Someone said
he'sbeenmissingallday.
MELCHIOR: Iexpect he'shadhisfill ofMichaelmas.
WENOLA: Perhaps.
(A beaU
You know, Ihaveyourjournal.
MELCHIOR: You do?!
56
SPRING AWAKENING
WINDLA: You left it. Theotherday. I confess, I tried reading
partofit-
MELCHIOR:Justleave it. Please.
(Wendla climbs intothehayloft, sets down thejournal.)
WENOLA: Melchior,I'msorryabout...whathappened.Truly,
Iam.Iunderstandwhyyou'dbeangryatme.Idon'tknow
whatIwas thinking-
MELCHIOR: Don't.
WENOLA: ButhowcanInot-
MELCHIOR: Please.Please. Don't.
(A beaU
We were confused.We were bothjust...
WENDLA: Butit was myfault that-
MELCHIOR: Don't-please-no!It was me-allme. Something
in mestarted,whenIhityou.
WENOLA: Somethinginme, too.
MELCHIOR: ButIhurtyou-
WENOLA: Yes, butstill-
MELCHIOR: Nomore! MyGod. No more.Just-please.
(A beaU
Youshouldgo.
(A beat. Wendlakneels besideMelchior.)
WENOLA: Won't you come out to themeadownow, Melchior?
It'sdarkinhere,andstuffy.Wecanrunthroughtherain-
get soakedtotheskin-andnotevencare.
MELCHIOR: Forgive me ...
WENDLA: It was me. All me.
(Wendlacradles his headon herbreasU
MELCHIOR: Icanhearyourheartbeat,Wendla.
57
STI:VEN SATER
(Melchior reaches to kiss Wendla.)
WENDLA: OhMelchi-
(Then, hesitating)Idon'tknow.
MELCHIOR (Cradlingherheadonhisbreast):NomatterwhereI am,
I hearit,beating...
WENDLA: AndI hearyours.
(Melchior leans close, kisses Wendla.)
Melchior...
(Hekisses heragain. Presses his bodyontohers.)
No-wait-no-
MELCHIOR: Wendla...
WENDL.A: Wait-stop.I can't.We'renotsupposedto.
MELCHIOR: What?
(No response.)
Notsupposedtowhat?Love?I don'tknow-istheresuch
athing?I hearyourheart ...
(Gospel-tingedmusicwith a moderngroove begins. TheBoys
andGirls are revealed, gatheredin quietchorus.)
. . . I feelyoubreathing-everywhere-therain,thehay ...
Please. Please,Wendla.
(He presses himselfforward. Kisses her.)
BOYS AND GIRLS (Quietly):
Ibelieve,
Ibelieve,
Ibelieve,
Oh Ibelieve.
Allwillbe forgiven-Ibelieve.
58
SPRING AWAKENING
(The songcontinues under, growing in intensity, for the rest
ofthe scene.)
WEND LA: Melchi,no-itjust-it's...
MELCHIOR: What?Sinful?
WENDLA: No.I don'tknow...
MELCHIOR: Then,why? Becauseit'sgood?
(No response.)
Becauseitmakesus"feel"something?
(Wendlaconsiders, then suddenlyreaches andpullsMelchior
to her. She kisses him. He holds her, andgently helps her lie
back.)
BOYS AND GIRLS:
Ibelieve,
Ibelieve,
Ibelieve,
Oh Ibelieve.
Allwillbe forgiven-Ibelieve.
Ibelieve,
Ibelieve,
Oh Ibelieve.
There is love in Heaven-Ibelieve.
MELCHIOR: Don'tbescared.
(Wendla hesitates, then nods. Melchior kisses her. Touches
her breast.)
WENDLA: No.
MELCHIOR: Please-
WENDLA: Don't.It ...
MELCHIOR: What?
(Wendla takes his hand, places itbackon her breast.)
S9
STEVEN S T ~
BOYS AND GIRLS:
Ibelieve,
Ibelieve,
Oh Ibelieve.
There is love in Heaven-Ibelieve.
Ibelieve,
Ibelieve,
Ibelieve,
Oh Ibelieve.
Allwillbe forgiven-Ibelieve.
(Melchior starts to unbutton Wendla's dress. He gently
reaches up her legs.)
WENDLA: Wait...
MELCHIOR: It'sjustme.(Offherlook; reassuringher)It'sjustme.
BOYS AND GIRLS:
Ibelieve,
Ibelieve,
Ibelieve,
Oh Ibelieve,
There is love in Heaven.
AllwiII be forgiven.
There is love in Heaven.
AllIViII be forgiven.
Ibelieve...
There is love in Heaven.
Ibelieve...
AllIVill be forgiven.
Ibelieve...
There is love in Heaven.
Ibelieve...
AllIvill be forgiven.
60
SPRING AWAKENING
Ibelieve...
There is love in Heaven.
Ibelieve...
Allwill be forgiven.
(Melchior reaches inside Wendla's undergarments, strokes
hergently.)
WENDLA: Now, there-now,that's ...
MELCHIOR: Yes ...?
WENDLA: Yes.
(As the song continues, Melchior climbs on top ofWendla,
lowers his pants.)
BOYS AND GIRLS:
Ibelieve...
There is love in Heaven.
Ibelieve...
AllIVillbe forgiven.
BOYS AND GIRLS: OTHER GIRLS:
Ibelieve...
There is love in Heaven. Peace andjoy be lVith
Jbelieve... them ...
Allwillbe forgiven.
Ibelieve...
There is love in Heaven.
Ibelieve... HarmonyandlVisdom ...
AllIVill be forgiven.
Peace andjoy be lVith them,
Harmony andlVisdom ...
(Melchior penetrates Wendla.)
WENDLA: Melchior-oh! ...
61
STEV EN SAT ER
BOYS AND GIRLS:
I believe . ..
(The song ends. The lights fade. End of Act One.)
ACT TWO
SCENE 1
Dusk. Church. The same time, the same day as the close of Act
One. JVIusic underscores, as Father Kaulbach delivers his sermon.
FATHER KAULBACH (Mid-sermon): ... Let us then turn today,
children, to an adage much loved of Martin Luther: "To
God, to our parents, to our teachers, we can never render
sufficient gratitude."
(The scene shifts, revealing Wendla and Melchior in the hay-
loft. They are once again in their moment of love-making, as
Father Kaulbach continues:)
How well we know: these words may strike our modern ear
as merely quaint. As dubious. As old. And yet, let us pose
this question-each of us-within our dark heart: in what
ways have we honored, or dishonored, our father and mother?
In what ways have we strayed-in soul, in body-from all
the wise instruction of our clergymen, our teachers?
(The light fades on Father Kaulbach.
Melchior gently withdraws himself from Wendla.)
63
62
STEVEN SATER
MELCHIOR: Areyouallright,Wendla?
(A songbegins-subtlysweepingelectronickeyboards. Concert
light finds Wendla. The lights shift between the \Vorld of
cloudless song andthe lovers'uncertain moment in the hay-
loft. TheBoysandGirls lookon, andsingasa chorus.)
WENDLA:
Something'sstartedcrazy-
Sweetandunknown.
Somethingyou keep
In a boxon thestreet-
No\V it's longing for a home...
WENDLA, GIRLS AND BOYS:
Andwhocan saywhatdreamsare?...
WENDLA:
Wake me in time to be lonely andsad.
WENDLA, GIRLS AND BOYS:
Andwhocan saywhatwe are?...
WENDLA:
This is theseason for dreaming...
Andnowourbodiesare theguiltyones,
Who touch,
Andcolor thehours;
Night\Von'tbreathe
Oh howwe
Fall in silence from thesky,
Andwhispersomesilverreply...
MELCHIOR (Still intenton his question): Wendla...?
WENDLA: Ithinkso.Yes.
64
SPRING AWAKENING
MELCHIOR:
Pulse isgoneandracing-
Allfits andstarts.
Windowbywindow,
You tryandlook into
This brave newyou thatyou are.
MELCHIOR, GIRLS AND BOYS:
Andwhocan saywhatdreams are?...
MELCHIOR:
Wake me in timetobeoutin thecold.
MELCHIOR, GIRLS AND BOYS:
Andwhocan saywhatwe are?...
MELCHIOR:
This is the reason for dreaming...
I
MELCHIOR, WENDLA, GIRLS AND BOYS:
,,,,1 Andnowourbodiesare theguiltyones-
I
Ourtouch
Will fill everyhour.
111.1
1
'
Hugeanddark,
II1
1
,I
Oh ourhearts
Will murmurtheblues from on high,
Then whispersomesilverreply...
GIRLS AND BOYS:
Wo-o-Wo-o-o
(TheBoysandGirlsgatherlikeanalt-rockchoiraroundMelchoir
andWendla. Father Kaulbach is again revealedin church.)
FATHER KAULBACH: Ah, but children, children, in what ways
havewecloaked,andhiddenevenfromourselves,thesecret
bargainswe have madewithourowndevils ...?
6S
--
STEVEN SATER
MELCHIOR, WENDLA, GIRLS AND BOYS:
Andnowourbodiesare the guiltyones ...
(Moritzstrideson, wavingeveryone away.)
MORITZ: Enough. Enough.Enough.
(The lightsgoelectric, holdingon Moritz.)
SCENE 2
Moritzlooksout, asifhe were the frontman in agarage band.
MORITZ:
Awfulsweettobe a littlebutterfly.
Just wingin'overthings, andnothin'deepinside.
Nothin'goin;goin'wildinyou-youknow-
You're slowin'by the riversideorfloatin'high andblue ...
Or, maybe, cool to be a littlesummerwind.
Like, once througheverything, and then awayagain.
With ataste ofdust in your mouthall day,
Butno needto know, like, sadness-youjustsailaway.
'Cause,youknow, Idon'tdosadness-notevenalittlebit.
Just don'tneeditin my life-don'twant anypartofit.
f don'tdo sadness. Hey, I've done my time.
Lookin'backon itall-man,itblows my mind.
Idon'tdo sadness. So been there.
Don'tdosadness.Just don'tcare.
(The songends, andthelights shift. Twilight. A river. Moritz
stands alone. He withdraws agun from his pocket. Ilse sud-
denly enters. Sees him.)
ILSE: MoritzStiefel!
MORITZ (Frantically hidingthegun): lise?! You frightenedme!
66
SPRING AWAKENING
ILSE: Didyoulosesomething'?
MORITZ: Whydidyoufrighten me?
(A beat.)
Damnit!
ILSE: What'reyoulookingfor?
MORITZ: If onlyIknew.
ILSE: Thenwhat'stheuseoflooking?
(A beat.)
MORITZ: So, wherehaveyoubeenkeepingyourself?
JLSE: Priapia-theArtists'colony?
MORITZ: Yes.
ILSE: Allthoseoldbuggers,Moritz.Allsowild.So...Bohemian.
All they want to do is dress me up and paint me! That
Johan Fehrendorf, he's a wicked one, actually. Always
knockingeasels down and chasingme. Dabbingmewith
his paintbrush.But then,that's men-iftheycan't stick
youwithonething,they'lltryanother.
Oh God, Moritz, the other day we all got so drunk,
Ipassedoutinthesnow-justlaythere,unconscious,all
night.
Then, I spent an entireweek withGustav Baum. (Off
hislook)Truly.Inhalingthatetherofhis!Untilthismorn-
ing, when he wokemewithagun, set against mybreast.
Hesaid:"Onetwitchandit'stheend."Reallygave methe
goosebumps.
But,howaboutyou,Moritz-stillin school?
MORITZ: Well,thissemesterI'mthrough.
(A beat.)
ILSE: God, you remember how we used to run back to my
house and play pirates'? Wendla Bergman, Melchior
Gabor, you, andI...
(A plaintiveguitar sounds. A spotlight finds Ilse.)
67
STEVEN SATER
Springandsummer,
Every otherday,
Elue windgets sosad.
Elowin'through thethickcorn,
Through thebalesofhay,
Through theopen bookson thegrass ...
Springandsummer...
Sure, when it'sautumn,
Windalways wants to
Creepup andhauntyou-
Whistling, it'sgotyou;
With its heartache, with its sorrow,
Winterwindsings, anditcries ...
Springandsummer,
Every otherday,
Elue windgets sopained.
Elowin'through thethickcorn,
Through thebalesofhay,
Through thesudden driftoftherain ...
Springandsummer...
(The lights shift-twilightresumes.)
MORITZ: Actually,Ibettergo.
ILSE: Walkas far asmyhousewithme.
MORITZ: And...?
ILSE: We'll dig up those old tomahawks and play together,
Moritz-justlikewe usedto.
MORITZ: We did have some remarkable times. Hiding in our
wigwam...
ILSE: Yes. I'llbrushyourhair, andcurlit, set you onmylittle
hobby horse...
MORITZ: IwishIcould.
ILSE: Then,whydon'tyou?
68
SPRING AWAKENING
MORITZ (A lie): EightylinesofVirgil,sixteenequations,apaper
ontheHapsburgs...
(Theworldgoes neon again.)
So, maybeI shouldbe somekinda'laundry line-
Hang theirthingson me, andI will swing 'em dry.
You justwave in thesun through the afternoon,
Andthen, see, theycome to setyou free, beneaththe
risin'moon.
MORITZ: ILSE:
'Causeyouknow-
Idon'tdo sadness-not Springandsummer,
evena littlebit. Every otherday,
Justdon'tneeditin my Elue windgets so lost. '
Ill'
life-don'twantany Elowin'through the thick
partofit. corn, J
Idon'tdo sadness. Hey Through the bales ofhay-
.
I've done mytime.
I.J
Lookin'backon itall- Springandsummer,
f'll
man, itblows mymind. Every otherday, I'
Elue windgets so lost. I,.
Idon'tdo sadness. Elowin'through thethick
corn,
III:.
Through the bales ofhay,
So been there. Through thewandering
Don'tdosadness. cloudsofthe dust ...
I
Justdon'tcare. Springandsummer... II:
II
(Theconcertlight fades.)
MORITZ: Goodnight,Ilse.
ILS: Goodnight?
MORITZ: Virgil,theequations-remember?
ILSE:Justfor anhour.
MORITZ: Ican't.
69
STFYEN SATER
ILSE: Well,walk meatleast.
MORlTZ: Honestly,IwishIcould.
ILSE: You know, by the time you finally wake up, I'llbelying
onsometrash heap.
(lisegoes. Moritz winces.)
MORITZ: For thelove ofGod, all Ihadtodowas sayyes.
(Calls afterher) Ilse?Ilse...?
(Hewaits.Ifonlyhecouldrun afterher...Butnow, she'sgone.)
So,whatwillIsay?I'lltellthemall,theangels,I gotdrunk
inthesnow, and sang,and played pirates ...Yes, I'lltell
them,I'mreadynow. I'llbe anangel.
(Moritz sighs, looks outon the night. Hewithdraws the gun
from his pocket.)
Ten minutesago, you could see the entire horizon. Now,
onlythedusk-thefirst few stars...
Sodark.Sodark. Sodark...
(Moritz cocks the hammer ofthe gun. Sets the gun in his
mouth. Blackout.)
SCENE 3
Acemeteryin thepouringrain. Moritz's father, HerrStiefel, stands,
stoic, beside an opengrave.
Frau Gaborapproaches thegrave to offera flower. As shedoes,
Melchior is revealed in song light. Hebegins to sing, givingvoice
to Herr Stiefel's innerthoughts.
Onebyone, theBoys and Girls step forward, droppinga flower
onMoritz'sgrave, thencontinuingontheirway, rejoiningasachorus.
70
SPRING AWAKENING
MELCHlOR:
You fold his hands, andsmoothhistie.
You gentlylifthis chin-
Wereyou really so blind, andunkindto him?
Can'thelp the itch to touch, to kiss,
To holdhim onceagain.
Now, to close hiseyes, neveropen them?...
MELCHIOR, BOYS AND GIRLS:
A shadow passed. A shadow passed,
Yearning, yearning for the fool itcalleda home.
MELCHIOR:
Allthings he neverdid are left behind;
Allthe things his mama wishedhe'dbear in mind;
Andall his dadeverhopedhe'dknow.
0-0-0-0-0-0-
Thetalksyou neverhad,
TheSaturdaysyou neverspent,
Allthe"grown-up"placesyou neverwent;
Andallofthe cryingyou wOLlldn't understand,
You justlet him cry- "Makeaman outofhim."
MELCHIOR, BOYS AND GIRLS:
A shadow passed. A shadow passed, 1"1
Yearning, yearning for the fool itcalledahome.
MELCHIOR:
Allthings heever wished
Areleftbehind;
Allthe things his mama
Didto makehim mind;
Andhow his dad
Had hopedhe'dgrow.
Allthings he ever lived
Areleftbehind;
71
STEVEN SATr:1l
Allthe fears thatever
Flickered through his mind;
Allthe sadness that
He'dcome toown.
0-0-0-0-0-0-
(HerrStiefelmovestodrophisflower, buthesitates.Melchior
touches Herr Stiefel's chest, and the man abruptlycollapses
in grief, weepingover his son'sgrave.)
MELCHIOR, BOYS AND GIRLS:
0-0-0-0-0-0...
0-0-0-0-0-0...
A shadow passed.A shadow passed,
Yearning, yearning for the fool itcalleda home.
MELCHIOR:
And,itwhistles through theghosts
Stillleftbehind...
It whistles through theghosts
Stillleftbehind...
It whistles through theghosts stillleftbehind...
0-0...
(Melchiordrops the final flower.)
SCENE 4
The headmaster's office. Herr Knochenbruch summons Fraulein
Knuppeldick.
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: FrauleinKnuppeldick.
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: HerrKnochenbruch...?
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: We must take immediate and decisive
steps, lest we be perceived as one of those institutions
afflictedbytheveritableepidemicofadolescent suicide.
72
SPRING AWAKENING
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: Indeed,sir. But,itwillnotbeaneasy
wartowin. There's not onlythemoralcorruptionofour
youth,butthecreepingsensualityoftheseliberal-minded
times.
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: I couldn't agree more. It's war. Natur-
ally, theremustbecasualties.
(A beat.)
Ii j,
,d i
I
';
Bringtheboyin.
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: Certainly,HerrKnochenbruch. 1
1
[\';1
I,
(Fraulein Knuppeldick beckonsMelchior in.)
I ~ II
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: It would seem, young man, that all ~ I ,I
, '
. . ~
roadsendinyou.You doknowwhatI mean?
MELCHIOR (((But, you don't understand. ,,"): I'mafraid-
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH (CompletingMelchior'ssentence for him):
Aswellonewouldbe.Twodaysafterhisfatherlearnedof I
1111
theyoung,uh ...
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK (Supplyingthe name): MoritzStiefel...
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: ...MoritzStiefel'sdeath, hesearched
throughtheboy'seffectsanduncoveredacertaindepraved
andatheisticdocumentwhichmadeterriblyclear-
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICIC Terriblyclear...
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: ...the utter moral corruption ofthe
youngman, A corruptionwhich, no doubt, hastened the
boy'send.
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: Without question, Herr Knochen-
bruch.
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: I am referring, as you may know, to a
ten-pageessay,entitled,coylyenough,((TheArtofSleep-
ing With"...accompanied by-shallwe say-life-like
illustrations.
MELCHIOR: Herr Knochenbruch,if Icould-
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: Behave properly? Yes, that would be
anotheraffair entirely.
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: Entirely.
73
STEVEN SATER
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: For ourpart,we havemade athorough
examination of the handwriting of this obscene docu-
ment,andcompareditwiththatofeverysinglepupil-
MELCHIOR: Sir,ifyoucouldshowmeonlyoneobscenity-
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: You must now answer only the pre-
ciselystatedquestions.Withaswiftanddecisive"Yes"or
aNo."
(A beat,)
MelchiorGabor,did youwritethis?
(HerrKnochenbruchandFraulein Knuppeldickturnandstare
at Melchior. Music sounds-a dirty electric guitar chord,
seemingly prompting a song. Herr Knochenbruch and
Fraulein Knuppeldick exchange a look, then turn again and
stare atMelchior. Theguitarchord sounds again,)
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: Didyou write this?
(Herr Knochenbruch and Fraulein Knuppeldick turn and
stare-awaitingan answer. The lights shift. A rocking beat
kicks in. TheBoys and Girls appear. Melchior turns out:)
MELCHIOR:
There's a momentyou know ...you're fucked-
Notan inch more room to self-destruct.
No more moves-ohyeah, thedead-endzone.
Man, youjustcan'tcallyoursoulyourown.
OTTO:
But thething that makesyou reallyjump
Is thattheweirdestshitis stilltocome.
You can askyourself'hey, whathaveI done?
You'rejusta fly-thelittleguys, theykill for fun.
GEORG:
Man, you'refucked if youjust freeze up,
Can'tdo that thing-thatkeepin'still.
74
AWAKENING
HANSCHEN:
But,you're fucked if you speakyour mind,
GEORG, OTTO AND HANSCHEN:
Andyou know-uh-huh-youwill.
BOYS AND GIRLS:
Yeah, you're fucked, all right-andall for spite.
You can kiss yoursorry assgood-bye.
Totally fucked. Willthey messyou up?
Well, you know they'regonna try.
MELCHIOR (Mocking the professors):
Blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa ...
BOYS AND GIRLS:
Blaa blew blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa ...
(The lights shiftback: the headmaster'soffice.Herr Knochen-
bruch and Fraulein Klluppeldick again summon Melchior's
attention.Overthecourseof thenextexchanges, thelightsshift
backand forth-between the worlds ofsongandscene,)
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: HerrGabor?
MELCHIOR:
Disappear-yeah,well, you wanna try.
Wanna bundle up intosomebig-ass lie,
Longenough for them to alljustquit.
Longenough for you toget outofit.
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: HerrGabor,answerme.
MELCHIOR, BOYS AND GIRLS:
Yeah, you're fucked, all right-andall for spite.
You can kissyour sorry assgood-bye.
Totally fucked. Will they messyou up?
Well, you know they'regonna try.
75

STrVEN SATER
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH: MelchiorGabor, for thelasttime...
HERR KNOCHENBRUCH AND FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK: Did you
writethis?
MELCHIOR: Yes.
(HerrKnochenbruchgestures, andMelchior is ledaway. The
lightsgo psychedelic.)
MELCHIOR, BOYS AND GIRLS:
Yeah, you're fucked all right-andall for spite.
You can kissyoursorryassgood-bye.
Totally fucked. Will theymessyou up?
Well, you know they'regonna try.
(And noweven thegrown-upsjoin the song:)
ALL:
Bfuabfuabfuabfuabfuabfuabfuabfua
Blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa,
Bfuabfuabfuabfuabfuabfuabfuabfua
Blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa ...
Bfuabfuabfuabfuabfuabfuabfuabfua
Blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa,
Blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa
Blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa ...
Totally fucked!
SCENE 5
A vineyard at sunset. Church bells sounding in the distance.
Hanschen andErnst loll in thegrass.
HANSCHEN: Thosebells...Sopeaceful.
ERNST: Iknow.Sometimes,whenit'squiet,intheeveninglike
this,Iimaginemyselfas acountrypastor.Withmy red-
76
SPRING AWAKeNING
cheekedwife,mylibrary,mydegrees...Boysandgirls,who
live nearby, givemetheirhandswhenIgowalking...
HANSCHEN: You can'tbe serious.
(A beat.)
Really, Ernst, you're such a sentimentalist! The pious,
serenefaces you see onthe clergy, it'sall anact-tohide
theirenvy.
(Hanschen deftlyscoots closer toErnst.)
Trustme, thereareonlythreeways amancango. He can
let the status quo defeat him-likeMoritz. He can rock
theboat-likeMelchior-andbeexpelled.Orhe canbide
histime,andlettheSystem workforhim-likeme.
(Hanschen scoots even closer to Ernst.)
Think of the future as a pail of whole milk. One man
sweats and stirs-churningitintobutter-likeOtto,for
Ii
example,Anothermanfrets, andspillshismilk,andcries
i"
allnight.LikeGeorg.But,me,well,I'mlikeapussycat,I just
skimoffthecream...
ERNST: Just skim offthecream? ... ~ ~ I l
HANSCHEN: Right.
ERNST: But,whataboutthe...?
(OffHanschen's look)You'relaughing.
What-?
Hanschen?
l i ~ l l l i
,
(The lights shift.Hanschen leans intothe spotlightand smoothly
croons:)
HANSCHEN:
Come, cream away thebliss,
Travel the world within mylips,
Fondle the pearlof yourdistantdreams ...
Haven'tyou heard the wordof yourbody?
77
STEVEN SATER
0,you'regonna be wounded.
0,you'regonna be mywound.
0,you'regonna bruise too.
0,I'mgonna beyourbruise...
(The lights shiftback. Hanschen leans overandkissesErnst.)
ERNST: OhGod...
HANSCHEN: Mmm, I know. When we look back, thirty years
from now, tonightwillseemunbelievablybeautiful.
ERNST: And,inthemeantime...?
HANSCHEN: Whynot?
(Hanschen kissesErnstdeeply.)
ERNST: Onmywayherethisafternoon,Ithoughtperhapswe'd
only...talk.
HANSCHEN: SO, areyousorrywe-?
ERNST: Ohno-1loveyou,Hanschen.AsI'veneverlovedanyone.
HANSCHEN: And soyoushould.
(Hanschen shares thespotlightwithErnst.)
ERNST:
0,I'mgonna be wounded.
0,I'mgonna beyourwound.
ERNST AND HANSCHEN:
0,I'mgonna bruiseyou.
0,you'regonna be mybruise...
(Wendla, Melchior, and theBoys andGirls appear in chorus.
Asthe songcontinues, Ilse takes a letter from Melchior and
delivers ittoWendla.)
ERNST, HANSCHEN, WENDLA, MELCHIOR, BOYS AND GIRLS:
0,you'regonna be wounded.
0,you'regonna be mywound.
0,you'regonna bruisetoo.
0,I'mgonna beyourbruise...
78
Jh
SPRING AWAKENING
1'1
1
[1
SCENE 6
Wendla's bedroom. Wendla reads from Melchior's letter. Melchior
is revealed, in a spotlight.
MELCHIOR (From his letter):" ...Ihave nowseen,V/endla,how
this contemptiblebourgeois society works-howevery-
thingwe touchis turnedto dirt.Intheend,wehaveonly
each other-we must build a different world. Despite
whatthosewhisperingeldersmaysay,Imustsetmyhead
against your breast. We must let ourselves breathe and
moveagaininthatParadise-"
(Doctor von Brausepulver and Frau Bergman enter. 'Vendla
swiftlyhidesthe letterinhersleeve.DoctorvonBrausepulver
attendsher, pillbottlein hand.Frau Bergman hovers.)
DOCTOR VON BRAUSEPULVER: Now, now, don't fret. I've been
prescribingthesesincebeforeyouwereborn,younglady.
In fact, I recently recommended them to the utterly
exhausted young Baroness von Witzelben. Eight days
Jater-I'mpleasedtoreport-she'sofftoaspainPyrmont,
breakfastingonroastchickenandnewpotatoes.
(A beat.)
:1
So,mychild,threea day-anhourbeforemeals.Inafew
weeks,youshouldbefine-breakfastingonsucklingpig,
nodoubt.
FRAU BERGMAN: SO, that'sallitis,Doctor-anemia?
DOCTOR VON BRAUSEPULVER: C'esttout.
FRAU BERGMAN: Andthenausea?
DOCTOR VON BRAUSEPULVER: Notuncommon.
(Turns to Wend/a) Trustme,child.You'llbefine.
(A beat.)
FrauBergman,ifIcouldhavea word withyou...?
79
I"
STEVeN SATER
FRAU BERGMAN: Certainly, Doctor.
(Frau Bergman leads Doctor von Brausepulver out. Wendla
sits, quietly touches the letter in her sleeve.
In a moment,Frau Bergman reentel's, andstares ather.)
WENOLA: Mama ... ?
FRAU BERGMAN: Wendla ... ? What have you done? To your-
self? To me?
(No response.)
Wendla?
WENOLA: I, uh, don't know.
FRAU BERGMAN (Not a question): You don't know.
WENOLA: Doctor von Brausepulver said I'm anemic.
FRAU BERGMAN: Well, probably. You're going to have a child.
WENOLA: A child?! But, I'm not married!
FRAU BERGMAN: Precisely.
Wendla, what have you done?
WENOLA: I don't know. Truly, I don't.
FRAU BERGMAN: Oh, I think you know. And now I need his name.
WENOLA: His name? But what are you ...
(Abruptly realizing) That? How could that ... ? I just
wanted to be with him ...
WENOLA: .. To hold him
and be close to him-
(A beat.)
FRAU BERGMAN: Wendla,
please. No more. You'll
break my heart.
WENOLA: My God, why didn't you tell me everything?
(Frau Bergman slaps Wendla.)
FRAU BERGMAN: \Nell, you are going to have to tell me who.
(No response.)
Wendla, I'm waiting.
80
SPRING AWAKENING
(Wendla looks offintothedistance.)
Georg Zirschnitz?
(No response.)
Then, who?
(No response.)
Hanschen Rilow?
(No response.)
Moritz Stiefel?
(No response.)
Melchior Gabor?
ll
(Wendla quietlybursts intotears.)
r
.u
Wendla, Melchior Gabor?
I
j"
(No response.)
Wendla ... ?
I
IIrlll
(WendlareluctantlyhandsMelchior's lettertohermother.As
Frau Bergman opens it, Wendla stands, spotlit, like asinger
in concert. She remains in this pool oflight, her song playing
in counterpoint to the following scenes:)
WENOLA:
Whispering ...
Hear theghosts in the moonlight.
Sorrow doing a new dance
Through theirbones, through theirskin.
81

STEVEN SATER
Listening-
To the souls in the fool's night,
Fumblingmutelywith their rude hands ...
Andthere's heartache withoutend...
(The lights shift. Melchior's home. Melchior's father, Herr
Gabor, addresses Frau Gabor:)
FRAU GAllOR (Mid-conversation): Hermann,thisisourson.
HERR GABOR (This is hard for him, too): For fifteen years, my
darling, Ihave followed yourlead, we have given theboy
room.Andnowwemusteatofthebitterfruit.Hehasshown
himselfutterlycorrupt.
FRAU GABOR: Hehasnot.
HERR GABOR: I-lear me out.
FRAU GABOR: ButIhave.Melchiorwroteanessay-everyword
ofwhich was true. Are we soafraid ofthe truthwe will
jointheranksofcowardsandfools?Twistinghisnaiveact
intoevidenceagainsthim?
IwillnothaveMelchiorsenttosomereformatory,pent
upwithdegeneratesandgenuinecriminals.
(Herr Gabor looks mvay, pained.)
WENOLA:
See the father bentin grief,
The motherdressed in mourning.
Sistercrumples,
Andtile neighborsgrumble.
The preacher issues warnings ...
HERR GAllOR: AndnowImustbreakyourheart. (Withdrawing
a letter from his pocket) This afternoon, Frau Bergman
cametoseeme.BearingaletterMelchiorwrotetoyoung
Wendla,tellingherhehasnoregretforwhattranspiredin
ourhayloft ...
FRAU GAllOR: Impossible!
82
SPRING W K ~ N I N
HERR GAllOR: Thatheonlylongstofind againthatbitofPara-
dise-
FRAU GABOR (Reaching for the letter): Let me seethat.
HERR GABOR: Yes, dohave alook.
(Frau Gabor takes it, andis 110rrified by whatshe reads.)
WENDLA:
!;
History...
LittleMiss didn'tdo right.
Wentand ruinedall the true plans-
Such ashame, such asin. iH
Mystery ...
Home aloneon aschool night.
Harvest moon over the blue land;
Summerlonging on the wind...
HERR GAllOR: The wretched fact is: Melchior knew precisely
what hewas doing.Andasthat essayshows,heknewthe
dangerofdoingit.Andyet,hewentahead.Defilinghim-
selfandallbutdestroyingthat girl.
So,youtellme,Fanny-whatshallwe do?
FRAU GABOR: Whatyouwill.
Areformatory.
(Herr GaborconfrontsFrau Gabor. Shegazes into the distance,
stricken. The lighton them fades.)
WENDLA:
Had a sweethearton his knees,
So faithful andadoring.
Andhe touchedme,
AndIlet him love me.
So, let thatbe my story ...
Listening...
For the hope, for the new life-
83
.......
STEVEN SATER
Somethingbeautiful, anewchance.
Hear, it'swhispering, there, again ...
SCENE 7
AReformatory.In adarkenedcorner, Melchioropensaletterfrom
Wendla.
MELCHIOR (Reading from the letter): "Mydear Melchior ...I
onlypraythisletterreaches you.Ihave writtensomany,
andhaveheardnothingback.WhenIthinkofyourlifein
thatterribleplace,myheartaches.If onlyIcouldbeclose
to you, and talk to you-I have such remarkable news.
Somethinghashappened,Melchior.SomethingIcanbarely
understandmyself-"
(AgroupofBoysbreaksin. Melchiorquicklypocketstheletter,)
DIETER: All right,eachofyouanimalsputinacoin.
RUPERT: Reinholdcanputinfor bothofus.
REINHOLD: Ibegyourpardon!-
DIETER: All right, you, calmdown. (Means business) Reinhold,
coughitup.
REINHOLD (Giving him acoin): Christ!
DIETER: Rupert,Ulbrecht-you,too.
(Dieter collects their coins, displays them, then sets them
down in apile,)
Now, whoeverhits'em,gets'em.
(The Boys begin theircirclejerk,)
ULBRECHT: Wait.(To Melchior)Whatareyoulookin'at?
REINHOLD: Who?
(Melchior freezes,)
84
........
SPRING AWAKENING
II
RUPERT: Gabor.
I Ij'
I
DIETER: Hejustwantsapartofthesport.
MELCHIOR: Nothankyou.
RUPERT (Ironic): Ohno, whywouldhe dirtyhis hands?...
DIETER ("Right"): Savingitfor betterthings.
MELCHIOR: Whatdo youmean?
ULBRECHT (Ironic): Oh.A"goodgirl,"wasn'tshe?
DIETER: Nobodytaughtthepoorboywhatparlormaidsarefor.
RUPERT: Hewas toobusyfucking hisslut-
MELCHIOR: You shit!
; I
'I.I!
III
(MelchiorlungesatRupert.Rupertdrawsastraightrazor, holds
it to Melchior's throat.)
"llli
III
I'
RUPERT: Careful-razorburn.
./"
I
MELCHIOR: Bastard!
/11 ,
DIETER (Approaching): Checkhispocketsformoney.
REINHOLD: Yes! !\\: 1
ULBRECHT (Finds tbe letter in Melchior's pocket): Now what's
this-aletterfrom hisbitch?
IJlli
MELCHIOR: Animals!
RUPERT (Reading from the letter; with exaggerated prissiness):
"MydearMelchior...Ionlypraythisletterreachesyou.
Ihave writtenso many,andhaveheardnothingback..."
(Something in the text catches his eye) Oooh, hangon, the
perfectthingtogrease theworks. Listenup...
MELCHIOR: Sonofabitch!
(The scene shifts-a private garden. Frau Bergman greets
Schmidt.)
SCHMIDT: FrauBergman?
:111
FRAU BERGMAN: Thank you for meeting me. Your name was
givenmebya, uh,doctorfriend. Mydaughter-
SCHMIDT: Iunderstand. Now, listento my instructionscare-
~ l l
fully. ThisThursday, after nightfall,bringthegirl tome.
Gartenstrasse, Number Eleven. The doorbelow the tav-
I
ern.Knock threetimes-andthreetimesonly.
III
85
STI:VEN SA'l'E1(
FRAU BERGMAN: Butmydaughter-! Theprocedure-isitsafe?!
SCHMIDT (Lifting a hand): Wedowhatwecan.
(The scene shiftsback. The circlejerk is well underway.)
RUPERT (Further on in the letter, as ifhe were reading from de
Sade'sjournaV:"...inmybedeachnight,I have somany
dreams: ofthe better world that we will build, together
withourchild-"
MELCHIOR (This is news to him): Child?!
RUPERT: Youdidn'tknow.(To theBoys)Putapupinthebitch-
anddidn'tevenknow.
DIETER: Forgetthecoins,we'lluse"Mommy's"letter.
(Dietertossesthe letterintothecenterof theircircle. Thecir-
clejerkintensifies.)
RUPERT (PushingMelchior's face down towardthe floor): Andyou
canlickitup!
(Melchior seizes the moment, wrests the razor from Rupert,
and breaks free. Melchior brandishes the blade, fighting the
Boys back.)
ULBRECHT: Get him!
REINHOLD: Grabhim!
(Melchior leaps over the reformatory wall, the Boys in hot
pursuit.
Thesceneshifts.Frau Bergman leads Wendla up adarkened
street.)
WENDLA: Butwherearewegoing,Mama?
(Frau Bergman leads the girl to where Schmidt waits. Frau
Bergman hands him some marks.)
SCHMIDT: FrauBergman,good.I'lltake hernow.
86
SPRING AWAKENING
(Frau Bergman pulls Wendla by the hand and gives her to
Schmidt.)
WENDLA: Mama?!!
FRAU BERGMAN: I'llbetherewithyoueverymoment.
(As Schmidttakes holdofWendla, Frau Bergman lets hergo.
Schmidtleads Wendla off.)
WENDLA: Mama,don'tleaveme! Mama???!!!
(FrauBergman looksaroundnervously, thenboltsup theblock.)
SCENE 8
The bridge. The Girls huddle around Ilse. She reaches into her
dress, pulls outa letter from Melchior.
ILSE(Reading from the letter):"...Ilse,I havebeenrunningfor
days, butatlastI amback. Now, I begyou-forthe sake
ofouroldfriendship. BringWendlatomeetmetonight,
inthegraveyardbehindthechurch... "
ANNA: Ohno...
ILSE: H I will be waiting there at midnight ...Melchior
Gabor."
(Ilse looks up from the letter.)
THEA (Sighs): So,hehasn'theard.
MARTHA: WaitingforWendla...
THEA: PoorMelchior.
ANNA (Correctingher): PoorWendla.
87
SPRING AWAKENING STEVEN SATER
(He doubles over, bereft. Spare piano chords-an otherworldly
SCENE 9
A graveyard. Moonlight. A sort of underworld in mist. Melchior
enters, casts about.
MELCHIOR: Wendla ... ?!
music begins.
Moritz appears-in song light-as if rising from his grave.)
MORITZ:
Those you've known,
And lost, still walk behind you . ..
(No response. Melchior sighs.)
MELCHIOR: Moritz?
Look at this-spend your life running from the Church,
and where do you wind up?
(Melchior approaches a grave, kneels.)
MORITZ:
All alone,
They linger till they find you . ..
Moritz, myoId friend ...
MELCHIOR: I've been a fool.
(A beat.)
Well, they won't get to me. Or Wendla. I won't-I won't
let them. We'll build that world, together, for our child.
(Church bells chime: midnight. Melchior rises and looks about.)
MORITZ:
Without them,
The world grows dark around you-
And nothing is the same until you know that they have
found you.
Midnight. (Melchior pulls out the straight razor.)
(He listens for Wendla. Hears nothing. Sighs.)
My God, all these little tombs ... And here-a fresh
one ... (He pauses, reads the epitaph) "Here Rests in God,
Wendla Berg-"
No?!
(He bends closer, reads) "Born the ... Died-"?! "Of
anem;a"??
(Melchior realizes, in numbed disbelief, what must have hap-
pened,)
Oh my God. Wendla, too?
No. No. No ...
MELCHIOR: Well, you had the right idea. They'll scatter a little
earth, and thank their God ...
(As Melchior draws the razor to his throat, Wendla appears-
in song light-as if rising from her grave.)
WENDLA:
Those you've pained
May carry that still with them . ..
(Melchior stops, stunned.)
MELCHIOR: Wendla?!
88 89

STEVEN SATER
WENDLA:
Allthesame,
They whisper: ~ forgiven."
Still,yourheartsays:
Theshadowsbringthestarlight,
Andeverythingyou'veeverbeen is stillthere in thedark
night.
MORITZ: WENDLA:
Thoughyouknow When the northern
You've leftthem far behind- windblows,
You walkon byyourself, and Thesorrows
notwith them, Your heartholds,
Stillyou know, There are those who
They fillyourheartandmind, stillknow-
When theysay:"There'saway They're stillhome;
through this..." We'restillhome.
(Melchior is temptedbyhis blade, butMoritzandWendla
gentlyintercede.)
MORITZ AND WENDLA:
Thoseyou'veknown,
Andlost, stillwalkbehindyou.
Allalone,
Their songstillseemsto findyou.
They callyou,
As ifyou knew theirlonging-
Theywhistlethrough the lonelywind, the long blue
shadows falling ...
(Melchiorrisesin themoonlight,resolved.Heclosestherazor.)
MELCHIOR:
Allalone,
ButstillIheartheiryearning;
T/lrough thedark, the moon, alonethere, burning.
SPRING AWAKENING
Thestars, too,
I
Theytellofspringreturning-
Ii
Andsummerwithanotherwindthatno oneyethas I'
known ...
Theycall me-
Through all things-
Night's falling,
Butsomehowon Igo.
You watch me,
Justwatch me-
I'm calling
From longing...
WENDLA:
MORITZ:
Stillyou know
When the northern wind
There'sso much more to blows,
find- Thesorrows
Anotherdream, another Your heart'sknown-
loveyou'llhold.
Ibelieve...
Stillyou know
:1,
To trustyourown true mind
On yourway-youare not
II!
alone.
There are those who still
i
know-
(Melchior draws the ghosts ofWendla and Moritz to him,
!I
holdsthem.)
II
MELCHIOR: I
Now they'llwalkon myarm through thedistant night, Iii
1;1'
AndI won'tlet them stray from myheart.
Through thewind, through thedark, through thewinter
light,
Iwill readall theirdreams to thestars.
90 91
~
STEVEN SATER SPRING
MELCHIOR: MORITZ AND WENDLA The sadness, the doubt, all theloss, thegrief,
(Receding from Melchior): Will belongto someplay from the past;
\
I'll walk nowwith them.
Asthe childleads theway to a dream, abelief;
Notgone. A timeof hope through theland...
I'llcallon theirnames,
I
Notgone. A summer'sday,
I
I'llsee theirthoughts A mothersings
:1
are known. Notgone. A songof purplesummer
Through theheartof everything.
Notgone-
,I
Notgone- (TheBoys, theGirls, andtheAdultsenter,joiningherin song.)
Theywalkwith myheart- II
I'll neverlet themgo.
ALL:
AndHeaven waits,
I
I'll neverlet themgo. ,
,
So closeitseems
To showherchildthe wonders Ii
I'llneverletthemgo ...
Of a worldbeyondherdreams
The earth will wave with corn,
I
You watch me
III
Thedays so wide, sowarm,
Just watch me,
Andmareswill neigh with
I'm calling.
Stallions thattheymate, foals they've borne ...
I'mcalling-
Andoneday all will know...
Andallshallknowthe wonder
Ofpurplesummer...
iii
(Melchiorstandsalone. The lights fade to black.)
I
Andso, J wait.
I
The swallowbrings
A songof what's to follow-
I'll
SCENE 10 Thegloryofthe spring.
Coda
The fences sway.
The porchesswing.
I
Ilse standsalone.A worldwashedin songlight.
Thecloudsbegin to thunder,
III
Crickets wander, murmuring-
ILSE:
Listen to what'sin theheartof a child,
The earth will wave withcorn,
II
A songso bigin onesosmall,
The days so wide, sowarm, !
Soonyou willhearwhere beautylies-
Andmares will neigh with
III
,I
You'llhearandyou'llrecall...
Stallionsthattheymate, foals they'veborne...
II
92
93

STEVEN SATER
Andall shallknowthewonder-
I will singthe song
Ofpurplesummer...
Andallshallknowtbe wonder-
I willsingthesong
Ofpurplesummer...
Allshallknowthewonder
Ofpurplesummer...
THE END
94
l 6
"A kind of miracle. The staggering purity of this show will
touch all open hearts. The melting lament of its confused and
damaged youngsters speaks directly to us. In its refined,
imaginative simplicity, it daringly reverses all the conven-
tional rules by returning the American musical to an original
state of innocence. Spring Awakening is the best new musical
I've seen in a generation."
-JOHN HElLPERN, NEW YORK OBSERVER
"An unexpected jolt of sudden genius! A groundbreaking must-
see musical sure to wake up Broadway! Edgy in its brutally hon-
est, unromanticized depiction of human sexuality, the night is
made heart-rending and magical by themes common to all."
-CLIVE BARNES, NEW YORK POST
"Fantastic! Sheer exuberance exploding in a burst of power pop.
The new indie-rock treatment of Frank Wedekind's play about
hormonal adolescents has just about everything going for it.
Be prepared to say, 'Oh, I didn't know musicals could do that.'''
-JEREMY MCCARTER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE
"Tearing into the pretend pop and reused plots that pass for
new musicals on Broadway today, this primal scream of tur-
bulent puberty is furious, serious fun."
-LINDA WINER, NEWSDAY
"The most explosive new musical since Rent. A gorgeous
score. A passionate story. Spring Awakening is a remarkable
musical that every generation is likely to appreciate now and
in years to come."
-MICHAEL SOMMERS, STAR-LEDGER (NEWARK)
"Spring Awakening, with book and lyrics by Steven Sater and
superb indie-rock anthems by Duncan Sheik, throbs with
dark humor and dangerous desire. The music, alternately
brattish punk and yearning power ballads, reaches the heart of
Wedekind's tormented adolescents. Spring Awakening is a cult
hit in the making if ever I saw one."
-CHARLES SPENCER, TELEGRAPH (LONDON)
"The most thrilling pop musical ever. Veteran pop composer
Duncan Sheik and lyricist/book writer Steven Sater capture the
melancholy and mortification of adolescence with all of the inten-
sity it deserves and none of the condescension it so often receives."
-ERIC GRODE, NEW YORK SUN
"I saw Spring Awakening exactly thirty-eight days ago, and
I haven't gone a day without replaying it in my head since.
Two sensuous ballads, 'Touch Me' and 'The Word of Your
Body,' are so gorgeous, they already rank among the best ever
written for the stage. The main love story is nothing short of
Greek tragedy. Spring Awakening is an intoxicating experience."
-JOHN MOORE, DENVER POST
"Exhilarating. A show that bristles with rawness, vitality and
urgency. Sater's book and lyrics seem to capture from within the
uniquely teenage feeling that every emotion is the most tempes-
tuous, frightening, passionate or exciting one ever experienced:'
-DAVID ROONEY, VARIETY
"Spring Awakening is a breathtaking dissection of what it
means to grow up. In its exploration of new-found sexuality-
when everything is extreme, with never a shade of gray-the
show rips through the Eugene O'Neill Theatre with pounding
intensity. When it is at its alternative-rock best, it sweeps the
audience into its beat; when it is at its most poignant, you feel
like the only person in the theater."
-HOWARD SHAPIRO, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
"Spring Awakening is an extraordinary new musical. Melodies
like 'The Song of Purple Summer' reach deep inside the listener
and stir feelings that may have been sleeping for a long time. It's
what great theater should do. It's what Spring Awakening does:'
-RICHARD OUZOUNIAN, TORONTO STAR
"Breathtaking. Sheik's iridescent music and Sater's imagistic
lyrics make everyone recall when they, too, were young,
unshakably set on radicalizing the world. It's electrifying."
- LEONARD JACOBS, BACKSTAGE
SPRING AWAKENING
SPRING AWAKENING
BOOK AND LYRICS BY
STEVEN SATER
MUSIC BY
O U ~ SHEIK
'\
, ~
THEATRE COMMUNICATIONS GROUP
NEW YORK
2007
-.... ----" ".....
Bookandlyrics copyright 2007hy StevenSater
Musiccopyright 2007byDuncanSheik
SpringAwakeningis publishedbyTbeatre CommunicationsGroup.Inc.,
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Basedontheplay Friihlings Envachen [SpringAu'akening) by FrankWedekind.
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LII3RARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-TN-PUBLICATION DATA
Sheik,Duncan,1969-
[Springawakening.Libretto)
Springawakening/ bookandlyricsby StevenSater; musicbyDuncan
Sheik.-1sted.
p. cm.
Basedon; Frilhlings Erwachen/ FrankWedekind.
ISBN 978-1-55936-315-0
1. Musicals-Librettos. 1. Sater,Steven.II. Wedekind,Frank,1864-1918.
Friihlings Erwachen. TTl. Title.
ML50.S534S672007
782.1'40268-dc22
2007016704
Cover, textdesignandcompositionbyLisa Govan
Cover photoofWendla(Lea Michele) andMelchior(jonathanGroff) in
theBroadway/AtlanticTheaterCompanyproductionis byMoniqueCarboni
First Edition,June2007
For my parents;andmy children;
and for you, L...
-5.5.
PREFACE
When we were young Frank Wedekind was the
Masked Man of our Spring Awakening . . , This was the
turn ofthe century. Bourgeois ideas lay in their agony.
-BERTHOLD VIERTEL 0885-1953),
WRITINGS ON THEATRE
S
uffice it to say, by the time I thought of introducing Wede-
kind's Masked Man to the American musical theater, those
same "bourgeois ideas" had more than managed to rise again.
It was indeed the turn of a new century when I first gave
Duncan a copy of the play. Some months later, in the wake of
the shootings at Columbine, its subject felt all the more
urgent; I approached (director) Michael Mayer about working
on it with us.
These days, a short eight years later, in the shadow of the
shootings at Virginia Tech, I am often asked why I ever
thought Spring Awakening could work as a musical. And my
only real answer is that I knew and loved the play, that I had
long felt it was a sort of opera-in-waiting, and that somehow
I could already "hear" Duncan's music in it.
Subtitled "A Children's Tragedy," Wedekind's play is full
of the unheard, anguished cries of young people. It struck me
that pop music-rock music-is the exact place that adoles-
V(J
PRHACE
cents for the last few generations have found release from, and
expression of, that same mute pain.
"The flesh has its own spirit," Wedekind once wrote. And
surely his gorgeous threnody already has the soul of song with-
in it. But I never dreamed that, by letting his characters actually
sing, we would end up so profoundly transforming his work.
Then, perhaps there is something in the nature of song
itself that opens the door to story-that admits us to the
heart of the singer-as if every song tells of a sort of unac-
knowledged "I want." For, what we sing is what is unspoken,
what is hidden. The "real story."
As we began work, I vowed to remain true to Wedekind's
fierce original intent. But I soon found that once we had
access, through song, to the inner workings of our characters'
hearts and minds, we engaged with them differently-we
embarked on journeys with them. Before long, we found our-
selves altering the structure, even the substance, of our source
material, to account for the places those songs had taken us.
From the start, my thought was that the songs in our show
would function as interior monologues. Characters would not
serenade one another in the middle of scenes. Rather, each
student would give voice to his or her inner landscape.
Surely, the original play is full of exquisite monologues-
a dramatic technique Wedekind inherited from his country-
men Goethe and Schiller. But our monologues were meant to
be truly interior-a technique more familiar in twentieth-
century fiction.
Instinctively, I felt I did not want to write lyrics which
would forward the plot, and so chose not to follow that golden
rule of musicals. I wanted a sharp and clear distinction between
the world of the spoken and the world of the sung. And yet,
I also wanted to create a seamless and ongoing musical coun-
terpoint between the languages of those distinct worlds.
The infamous twentieth-century philosopher Ludwig
Wittgenstein famously wrote: "What we cannot speak about,
we must pass over in silence." And, yet, song seems to let us
pause within that silence, to find ourselves articulate within it.
Within our show, the songs soon came to function as sub-
text. The boy and girl fumble to make polite conversation; but
v!II
PREFACE
underneath, each of them already senses the enormous story
about to unfold between them: "0, I'm gonna be wounded ... "
We wrote songs as confession ("There is a part I can't tell,
about the dark I know well"). Songs as denial ("Uh-huh, uh-
huh, uh- huh ... well, fine") or admission ("It's the bitch of liv-
ing as someone you can't stand"). Songs as cri de coeur ("But
there's nowhere to hide from the ghost in my mind ... ").
Somehow, I felt, we still remained true to that inchoate yearn-
ing of Wedekind's youths.
But of course we were also up to something else: in our
show, the scenes set out the world of nineteenth-century
repression, while the songs afford our young characters a
momentary release into contemporary pop idiom. (Caught in
the relentless dramas of our adolescent lives, we are all still
rock stars in the privacy of our own bedrooms.) The time-
jumping structure of our show is meant, thus, to underscore
the sadly enduring relevance of our theme.
Some of my earliest efforts to transpose nineteenth-
century yearnings into contemporary attitudes and idiom
were fairly straightforward. A failure at school, a virtual pariah
at home, stymied in his efforts to flee provincial Bavaria,
Wedekind's Moritz wanders to the river at dusk and declares:
"But then, it's better this way ... I don't want to cry again-
not today ... " Our Moritz wanders into the same dusk, but
soon ignites into neon-a post-punk kid at a mike who sings:
"Awful sweet to be a little butterfly ... 'Cause, you know,
I don't do sadness ... "
Certainly, my original vow was to remain true to Wedekind's
text. Still, I have been alternately touched and bemused that
so many critics have spoken so highly about how faithful we
have been to the original, how admirably we have distilled it.
Maybe. But, at the same time, we have fundamentally altered
it. (I remember when Stephen Spinella, who joined our show
just before our Broadway transfer, asked to see my uncut
translation from Wedekind of several of his scenes. I had
nothing to show him. He continued to press his suit: he really
wanted to see Moritz's scene with his father in its longer
IX
PREFACE
form-a scene in which the man humiliates, strikes, and
effectively renounces his son. Alas, I had to report that we
never see Moritz with his father in the original play.)
Still, it has been more than merely adding new scenes, or
thoroughly rewriting those already extant. We have created
journeys for our three lead characters which do not exist in the
original dark fractious fable.
As others have noted, the two biggest shifts we made to
the tale occur at the ends of Act One and Act Two-in the
hayloft and then in the graveyard. In Wedekind's script,
Melchior "date-rapes" Wendla. We wanted to see him make
love to her. More: we wanted to show how this young man
(who jests at his friend's puberty wounds) first uncovers
ineluctable sexual feelings; how he begins to own his sexual
identity; how he helps Wendla awaken to hers. The truth is,
we had already, irrevocably, set Melchior on this path when we
gave him the song: "Touch Me." There, he articulates his sense
of "the female" yearning for pleasure, singing as if in some
hypothetical woman's voice: "Touch me, just like that. Now,
there, that's it-God, that's heaven ... " Sheltered in a hayloft
in a rainstorm with an actual young woman-Wendla-and
confronted with the possibility of giving her that pleasure,
Melchior cannot restrain himself.
As for the graveyard ... suffice it to say, after seven years'
labor, we finally dispensed with the notorious Masked Man.
This Symbolist figure appears-literally out of nowhere-in
the last scene of Wedekind's text. He confronts the despair-
ing Melchior and assures him that with a warm meal in his
belly, he will no longer chafe to join his friend Moritz in the
grave.
Without a doubt, this character is a sort of throwback, a
deus ex machina, like those in Ancient Greek tragedies, who
appear in the final scene to resolve the issues of the play. And
yet, his appearance, along with the ghost of Moritz, who rises
from his grave to tempt Melchior to suicide, effectively marks
the birth of the Expressionist Theater (a world where iconic
figures body forth the emotions of the central characters).
Since high school-when I first read the play- I have
been haunted by the Masked Man. I struggled so long to
x
PRrACE
incorporate him into our show, offering him up in one incar-
nation after another: as a sort of somber emcee, as an ever-
present silent specter, as an actor who (living or dead) some-
how survived the Allied bombing of a German theater. But we
finally realized that within our piece the music already per-
forms the role of the Masked Man, for it gives our adolescent
characters a voice to celebrate, to decry, to embrace the dark-
er longings within them as part of them, rather than as some-
thing to run from or repress.
As for Moritz arising from his grave to tell Melchior how
good the dead have it, hovering high above joy and despair ... it
just seemed wrong to us-a cop-out, for dramaturgic effect,
on a character we cared about and had worked so hard to illu-
minate. In our show, we witness Mortitz's struggles at school
and home first-hand; his devotion to Melchior is his sole anchor.
In song after song, he utters heartfelt, would-be defiant cries
of anguish at the world grown dark around him. In the
Expressionist original, the Moritz we meet in the graveyard is
largely an aspect of Melchior's feeling-a projection. But for
us, he was still our gangly Eraserhead. We didn't want to see
him extend a rotting hand in an effort to betray his friend.
And yet, it felt appropriate to hear from him again, and
also from Wendla. The question was: what did we want to say?
If the answer wasn't a "warm meal" in a young Bavarian belly,
then how was Melchior to find the strength to go on?
Ultimately, the lyrics-the message-of Melchior's final
song, "Those You've Known:' came to me while writing it. I
found the lyrics telling me: it was the love still felt for those
we have known that enables us to continue in the face of los-
ing them.
Now we had the end of our tale: a boy left thoroughly dis-
traught, his rebellious spirit broken by The System, somehow
finds sustenance at the source of his sufferings. He has
learned to learn from his heart.
If the lesson to be learned was of the heart, then it made
sense that we would introduce Melchior as a guy with a naive
rebellious pride in the power of his own mind. And so (work-
ing backward from that lesson learned by show's end), we
wrote his opening number, "All That's Known":
XI
PRI:FACE
Alltheysay
Is "Trustin VVhat Is Written."
Wars are made,
Andsomehowthatis wisdom.
Thought is suspect,
Andmoney is their idol,
Andnothingis okayunless it'sscriptedin theirBible.
ButI know
There'sso much moreto find-
Just in looking through myself, andnotatthem.
Still, I know
To trustmyown true mind,
Andto say:"There'sa waythrough this... "
The realization of how our story should begin led us to construct
an entirely new opening scene for our young rebel-the Latin
Class-which does not exist in the original. This scene allowed
us to see the boys in school. It allowed us to introduce a world of
repression, where students are struck for giving the wrong
answers. It let us see Moritz floundering. Most important, it
showed us Melchior standing up for his friend and defending him.
In contrast, we were clear from the beginning about how
to launch Wendla's story, and "Mama Who Bore Me" was one
of the first songs Duncan and I wrote. I always felt our show
should begin with this determined young woman asking her
mother how babies are born, only to be rebuffed, coddled with
bourgeois evasion.
In the original, this classic scene falls in Act Two. Wendla
has already met Melchior, has indeed already been beaten by
him. Moving the scene to the top of the show allowed us to make
a political point right from the start: the seeds of the entire
"children's tragedy" are sown by this one willful act of silence-
a parent failing to talk honestly to her child about sex.
I saw Wendla as a girl with a mission-a nineteenth-century
teen with a quest that could also feel contemporary. Thwarted
by her mother, she keeps looking for answers: she wants to
XII
PREFACE
know the world of her strange new body. Disturbed but also
darkly intrigued to learn Martha's father beats her, Wendla
turns, searchingly, to Melchior. In the original script, when she
asks him to beat her, he is dumbstruck; all she can offer is that
she has never been beaten, her entire life. When our Wendla asks
Melchior to beat her, he demands: "How can you even want such
a thing?" And she responds: "I've never felt ... anything."
As Wedekind scripted it, the hayloft scene is brief-
startlingly brief. With next to no acknowledgment of the hor-
rific beating Melchior has inflicted on her, Wendla kneels beside
him in the hay, and he begins kissing her. A moment later, he
forces himself on her. We worked hard to flesh out a fuller
scene between them, to let our would-be lovers struggle to
make sense of what they have so brutally done-to offer one
another forgiveness, before they fall into each other's arms.
From the top of Act Two, we wanted to see Wendla con-
fusedly awakening to her own womanhood, owning her love-
making, claiming her part of the pleasure. Where Wedekind
gives her an Ophelia-like morning after, our young heroine
celebrates in song the sweet unknown world she's just dis-
covered. The final arc of her journey, however, came late in the
process. Our producer Tom Hulce felt, and repeatedly warned,
that we were letting our sometime-fearless young woman
conclude her story as a "victim," lamenting the incomprehen-
sible news that she was with child. The problem was, we all
loved her sad song, "Whispering:' One day, Michael proposed
we try intercutting that song with the scene between
Melchior's parents that follows it. As Wendla discovers the
consequences of her night with Melchior, the more progres-
sive Gabors, hearing the same news, give up on their son and
send him to a reformatory.
It was an inspired idea. Somehow, in cutting those scenes
together, it became plain that, over the course of her song,
Wendla could undergo a transformation. Her song would then
play in counterpoint with their scene: as Frau Gabor bows to
her sense of duty and condemns Melchior, Wendla sets aside
her grief and trusts what her heart found with him. And so
I rewrote the words of "Whispering" -what had been, from
near the beginning, my favorite lyric:
XIII
PREFACE
Seethesweethearton his knees,
So faithfulandadoring.
Says heloves her,
Soshe lets himhaveher-
Anothersummer'sstory...
Asthestoryofthesongchanged,thischorusbecame:
Hada sweethearton his knees,
So faithful andadoring.
Andhetouchedme,
AndI let him love me.
So, let thatbe mystory...
WhileMoritzfinally succumbstothehumiliationsofsociety
(he cannolonger face theprospectofaworldthatbrooksno
failure), our Wendla chooses to remember the love she has
felt,toignoretheghostlywhispersofsociety,andembracethe
newlife alreadywhisperingwithinher.
Andwiththatmove,ourplaymadeitspro-choicestance
explicit. Wendla's abortion was, ina sense, transported into
ourown century: a centuryin which a"bourgeoisidea"such
as abstinenceis stillwidelypreachedastheonlyformofsafe
sex; where the widespread dissemination of contraceptive
devices is described by some within our Department of
HealthandHumanServicesas demeaningtowomen.Onecan
onlyhopethatacenturyfromnowtheworldwillfinallyhear,
andhonestlyanswer,thecriesofitsWendlas.
AndsoIamleftponderinghowandwhyallthisevercameto
be.IrememberthefirsttimeIwalkedbyourmarquee,feeling
almostbaffled:" SpringAwakening-AMusical?Wait,no,isn't
thatjustthenameofabookinmyroom?"
I can honestly say that my earliest sense of why this
"kindertragodie"couldworkasapieceofmusicaltheaterwas
instinctual.Even so,theentireeight-yearsiegeofdeveloping
itentailednothingharderthanlearningtotrustourinstincts.
As Michael has recently said, we didn't set out to"revolu-
Xl\'
PRErACF.
tionizethemusicaltheater,"norwiththeexpressintentionof
doingsomethingdifferent.Rather, we hada storywe wanted
totell,andawayweallfelt we wantedtotell it.
Throughallthoseyears,throughthedarkesthourswhen
ourprojectfelloffalmosteveryone'sradar,Michaelneverlost
heart,neverlostfaithinourabilitytopullthethingtogether.
For all the endless nights he spent going through line after
line,everysyllableofthistextwithme...well,thistext-the
showitself-areall Ihave torepaythat.
As for thedebttoDuncan...whocanexplainthemystic
thingthathappenswhenIhandhimalyric andhesomehow
hearsasongin it.When(inamomentindeliblyetchedinmy
memory)hefirstlooksthroughthosewords,picksuphisgui-
tarand strums:"There'sa moment youknow... "Andthen
hepauses,looksupwithagrin,andsings:"you'refucked."
S.S.
New York
May2007
xv
PRODUCTION HISTORY
Over the years of its development, Spring Awakening profited
from a number of workshops, each one directed by Michael
Mayer. The first was in September 1999: a four-day rehearsed
reading at La Jolla Playhouse, at Annie Hamburger's invita-
tion. A three-week workshop at the Sundance Theatre Lab
followed, in the summer of 2000. In December 2000, the piece
had a two-week workshop, culminating in an unstaged read-
ing, at the Roundabout Theatre Company (the then fourteen-
year-old Lea Michele joined the company as Wendla). In June
2001, the show enjoyed a second workshop at the Roundabout.
Sadly, scheduled productions at both the Roundabout and the
Long Wharf Theatre (for the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003
seasons) fell apart. It was not until February 2005 that, with
the help of producer Tom Hulce, the show was workshopped
again: a concert reading in the Allen Room for Lincoln Center's
"American Songbook" series (John Gallagher, Jr., and Skylar
Astin were featured, along with Lea). In March 2006, Spring
Awakening received its sixth, and final, workshop at Baruch
College, under the auspices of the Atlantic Theater Company.
The world premiere production of Spring Awakening was pro-
duced in New York City at the Atlantic Theater Company (Neil
Pepe, Artistic Director; Andrew D. Hamingson, Managing
Director), in association with Tom Hulce and Ira Pittelman, on
June IS, 2006. It was directed by Michael Mayer; choreogra-
phy was by Bill T. Jones, scenic design was by Christine Jones,
lighting design was by Kevin Adams, costume design was by
Susan Hilferty, sound design was by Brian Ronan, the string
arrangements were by Simon Hale, the vocal arrangements
were by AnnMarie Milazzo; the musical director was Kimberly
Grigsby and the production stage manager was Allison
Sommers. The band included: Thad DeBrock, guitar; George
Farmer, bass; Trey Files, percussion and Benjamin Kalb, cello.
The cast was as follows:
The Girls
WENDLA
MARTHA
THEA
ANNA
lLSE
The Boys
MELCHIOR
MORITZ
HANSCHEN / RUPERT
ERNST / REINHOLD
GEORG / DIETER
OTTO / ULBRECHT
The Adult Women
FRAU BERGMAN, Wendla's mother
FRAU GABOR, Melchior's mother
FRAU BESSELL, Martha's mother
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK
FRAULEIN GROSSEBUSTENHALTER
The Adult Men
HERR GABOR, Melchior's father
HER R STIEFEL, Moritz's father
HERR RILOW, Hanschen's father
HERR NEUMANN, Ilse's father
HERR SONNEN STICH
Lea Michele
Lilli Cooper
Remy Zaken
Phoebe Strole
Lauren Pritchard
Jonathan Groff
John Gallagher, Jr.
Jonathan B. Wright
Gideon Glick
Skylar Astin
Brian Charles Johnson
Mary McCann
Frank Wood
HEADMASTER KNOCHENBRUCH
FATHER KAULBACH
DOCTOR VON BRAUSEPULVER
SCHMIDT
Spring Awakening moved to Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill
Theatre (A Jujamcyn Theatre: Rocco Landesman, President;
Paul Libin, Producing Director; Jack Viertel, Creative
Director), opening on December 10, 2006. It was produced by
the Atlantic Theater Company, Tom Hulce, Ira Pittelman,
Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Jeffrey Sine, Freddy DeMann,
Max Cooper, Mort Swinsky, Cindy and Jay Gutterman, Joe
McGinnis, Judith Ann Abrams, ZenDog Productions, CarJac
Productions, Aron Bergson Productions, Jennifer Manocher-
ian, Ted Snowdon, Harold Thau, Terry Schnuck, Cold Spring
Productions, Amanda Dubois, Elizabeth Eynon Wetherell, Jen-
nifer Maloney, Tamara Tunie, Joe Cilibrasi and StyleFour Pro-
ductions. It was directed by Michael Mayer; choreography was
by Bill T. Jones, scenic design was by Christine Jones, lighting
design was by Kevin Adams, costume design was by Susan
Hilferty, sound design was by Brian Ronan, the orchestrations
were by Duncan Sheik, the string arrangements were by Simon
Hale, the vocal arrangements were by AnnMarie Milazzo; the
musical director was Kimberly Grigsby, the production stage
manager was Heather Cousens and the stage manager was
Rick Steiger. The band included: Kimberly Grigsby, conductor/
keyboards; Thad DeBrock, guitar; George Farmer, bass; Trey
Files, associate conductor/percussion; Benjamin Kalb, cello;
Olivier Manchon, violin/guitar and Hiroko Taguchi, viola. The
cast was as follows:
The Girls
WENDLA Lea Michele
MARTHA Lilli Cooper
THEA Remy Zaken
ANNA Phoebe Strole
ILSE Lauren Pritchard
The Boys
MELCHIOR
MORITZ
HANSCHEN / RUPERT
ERNST / REINHOLD
GEORG / DIETER
OTTO / ULBRECHT
The Adult Women
FRAU BERGMAN, Wendla's mother
FRAU GABOR, Melchior's mother
FRAU BESSELL, Martha's mother
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK
FRAULEIN GROSSEBUSTENHALTER
The Adult Men
HERR GABOR, Melchior's father
HERR STIEFEL, Moritz's father
HERR RILOW, Hanschen's father
HERR NEUMANN, Ilse's father
HERR SONNENSTICH
HEADMASTER KNOCHENBRUCH
FATHER KAULBACH
DOCTOR VON BRAUSEPULVER
SCHMIDT
Ensemble
Jonathan Groff
John Gallagher, Jr.
Jonathan B. Wright
Gideon Glick
Skylar Astin
Brian Charles Johnson
Christine Estabrook
Stephen Spinella
Gerard Canonico
Jennifer Damiano
Robert Hager
Krysta Rodriguez
F'
Costume
sketches by
Susan Hilferty:
Melchior and
Wendla (top),
Moritz
(bottom).
CHARACTERS
The Girls
WENDLA
MARTHA
THEA
ANNA
ILSE
The Boys
MELCHIOR
MORITZ
HANSCHEN / RUPERT
ERNST / REINHOLD
GEORG / DIETER
OTTO / ULBRECHT
The Adult Women (played by one woman)
FRAU BERGMAN, Wendla's mother
FRAU GABOR, Melchior's mother
FRAU BESSEll" Martha's mother
FRAULEIN KNUPPELDICK
FRAULEIN GROSSEBUSTENHALTER
The Adult Men (played by one man)
HERR GABOR, Melchior's father
HERR STIEFEL, Moritz's father
HERR RILOW, Hanschen's father
HERR NEUMANN, Ilse's father
HERR SONNENSTICH
HEADMASTER KNOCHENI3RUCH
FATHER KAULBACH
DOCTOR VON I3RAUSEPULVER
SCHMIDT
TIME, PLACE AND SETTING
The action of the play is set in a provincial German town in
the late nineteenth century. When singing, however, the Boys
and Girls assume the manner of contemporary teens. The
lights shift with the songs, and we enter the private and time-
less world of the character who is singing. That character may
be joined in his or her solitary song by other voices that fill
out the chorus of longing.
PRODUCTION NOTES
From the inception of this project, Duncan, Michael and
I imagined that when the characters broke out of their
nineteenth-century confines, they would pull hand mikes from
their pockets and rock out. And indeed, that is just what they've
done, to great effect, in both our New York productions.
Seeing "the kids" step into a spotlight in period costume and
sing mike in hand, or from behind a mike stand, has been
dynamic. It has given us a visual embodiment, a clear signal,
of the break between our bourgeois German province and our
alt-rock concert.
Though this script is divided into many scenes, I always
imagined that the play would unfold with great fluidity: a
minimal amount of transition, as one moment morphs into
the next. Given that the show also shifts continually between
scene and song worlds, it made real sense to play on a near-
empty stage, with a nonrepresentational set. Lighting, then,
became the thing.
On that front, too, we had a strong idea: our young char-
acters live in the shadow of social convention, but their inner
worlds are utterly electric. And, the effect of a sudden break
from a world lit by lanterns to one ignited by neon has been
pretty spectacular.
Finally, in our staging, all of the characters have remained
present and visible throughout the show. This has greatly
facilitated the entrances and exits of the chorus of Boys and
Girls into and out of the songs.
But I offer these thoughts only as notes from our journal.
I am genuinely excited to see how others choose to address the
potentially tricky staging issues raised by this most-particular,
and long-begotten, text.
SONG LIST
(reprise)
-
ACT ONE PAGE
MamaWhoBoreMe Wendla 15
MamaWhoBoreMe Wendla andGirls 18
All That'sKnown Melchior 21
TheBitchofLiving MoritzandBoys 23
MyJunk Girls andBoys 29
TouchMe Boys andGirls 35
\
iJI TheWordofYour Body Wendla andMelchior 39
TheDarkIKnowWell Martha, Ilse andBoys 44
TheWordofYour Body Ottoand Georg 50
(reprise)
AndThenThereWereNone MoritzandBoys 52
TheMirrorBlue Night MelchiorandBoys 55
IBelieve Boys and Girls 58
ACT Two
TheGuiltyOnes Wendla, Melchior, Boys
andGirls 64
Don'tDo Sadness Moritz 66
BlueWind Ilse 68
Ilse, Martha, Thea andAnna(clockwise, from top left),
LeftBehind Melchior, Boys andGirls 71
TotallyFucked Melchiorandfull company 74
TheWordofYourBody Hanschen, Ernst,
(reprise)
Boys andGirls 77
Whispering Wendla 81
ThoseYou'veKnown Moritz, Melchior
andWendla 89
TheSongofPurpleSummer Full company 92
..
Hanschen, Ernst, Otto andGeorg (clockwise, from top left),

c
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Steven Sater (book and lyrics)
was awarded The Dramatists
Guild Hull-Warriner Award,
the Outer Critics Circle Award
for Best Score (both with
Duncan Sheik), and two Drama
Desk awards for Outstanding
Lyrics and Outstanding Book
of a Musical, in addition to
two Tony nominations for Best Original Score and Best Book
of a Musical for Spring Awakening.
He is the author of numerous plays, including the long-
running Carbondale Dreams, Perfect for You, Doll (the Rosenthal
Prize, Cincinnati Playhouse); Umbrage (Steppenwolf New Play
Prize); A Footnote to the Iliad (New York Stage and Film, The
Miniature Theatre of Chester); Asylum (Naked Angels); Murder
at the Gates <Commissioned by Eye of the Storm); In Search of
Lost Wings (Sanford Meisner Theater) and a reconceived ver-
sion of Shakespeare's Tempest, with music by Laurie Anderson,
which played London's Lyric Hammersmith and toured
throughout Great Britain. In addition to Spring Awakening,
Sater has collaborated with ellt-rocker Duncan Sheik on the
New York premiere of Umbrage (HERE); Nero: Another Golden
Rome (Magic Theatre) and The Nightingale <Commissioned by
Martin McCallum, workshopped both at the O'Neill Music
Theater Conference and La Jolla Playhouse, forthcoming
workshop with A.C.T.). He is the lyricist for Sheik's critically
acclaimed album Phantom Moon (Nonesuch), and together the
two wrote the songs for Michael Mayer's feature film A Home
at the End of the World (Warner Classics) as well as the inde-
pendent features Brother's Shadow and Mary Stuart Masterson's
The Cake Eaters. Sater is co-creator and executive producer,
with Paul Reiser, of recent pilots for both NBC and Sony/FX,
and has developed two projects for HBO, and another for
Showtime (with Reiser). He is also at work, with Jessie
Nelson, on a feature film for New Line. Together they have
also recently completed a rewrite of the Warner Bros animated
feature C Horse. In addition, Steven continues to work as a
lyricist with a variety of composers in the pop/rock world.
Duncan Sheik (music) is a
Grammy Award-nominated
singer-songwriter, who was
awarded The Dramatists Guild
Hull-Warriner Award, the
Outer Critics Circle Award for
Best Score (both with Steven
Sater), and the Drama Desk
Award for Outstanding Music,
in addition to two Tony nominations for Best Original Score
and Best Orchestrations for Spring Awakening.
Sheik has also collaborated with Steven Sater on Tile
Nightingale, a musical based on the Hans Christian Andersen
classic, which premiered at the O'Neill Music Theater
Conference in 2003. Sheik has composed original music for
The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of
Twelfth Night and for Nero: Another Golden Rome, which
debuted at Cornell University, and opened at the Magic
Theatre in San Francisco in 2006. His self-titled debut album
(Atlantic Records) was a popular and critical success, and
spent thirty weeks on the Billboard Top 200. Other albums
include Humming, Daylight, Phantom Moon (Nonesuch; lyrics
by Steven Sater), and, his latest, White Limousine (Rounder
Records). Sheik's songs have appeared in many film sound-
tracks, including: Great Expectations, The Saint, Teaching i\1rs.
Tingle, Three to Tango, What a Girl Wants, Transamerica and
Amazing Grace (a documentary about the late Jeff Buckley).
Sheik also composed and produced the original score for the
feature films A Home at the End of the World, directed by
Michael Mayer, and Mary Stuart Masterson's The Cake Eaters.
Spring Awakening premiered on June IS, 2006 at the Atlantic
Theater Company in New York City. This production trans-
ferred to Broadway, opening on December 10, 2006. In 2007,
Spring Awakening was awarded The Dramatists Guild Hull-
Warriner Award, the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding
Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical, the
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical, the
Drama League Award for Best Production of a Musical, the
Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, and was nomi-
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nated for eleven Tony awards, including Best Musical. The

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original cast album was released by Decca in 2006.

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