Suicide, abortion, sexual repression and assault — if you think these issues only recently started affecting adolescents, think again. The Millsaps College production of Frank Wedekind’s “Spring Awakening,” published in 1891, will show that the problems confronting youth are often timeless. Travel into the world of 14-year-old Wendla, Moritz and Melchior to explore the beauty, joy, desperation and violent nature of self-discovery during adolescence.

“Spring Awakening” runs Nov. 15-18 in the Millsaps College Christian Center Auditorium, where the stage has been specially redesigned for this abstract performance. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 general admission and $8 for students and seniors, and are available at the box office one hour prior to each show. For more information, call (601) 974-1422. The play is for mature audiences only.

“Spring Awakening” was one of the earliest written plays by Hanoverian playwright Wedeland. Published at his own expense in 1891, the play was controversial from the start. One of its most salient themes, the budding sexual maturity of youths in what Wedekind considered to be a sexually repressed contemporary society, was by no means viewed lightly by the Wilhelmian establishment. In fact, the play was not performed in Germany until 15 years after its publication, and even then it was banned at many theaters.

Jeannie-Marie Brown, assistant professor of theatre at Millsaps, directs a cast of 24, which includes Millsaps students, faculty, staff and other community members. The show is arranged in vignettes with minimalist sets — a chair may stand in for a whole room, two benches as a bedroom.

Brown says part of the stimulus for this kind of production is to engage the audience’s imagination. “The more you place on stage, the less audience participation there is,” she said, whereas with this production, “the audience becomes so engaged, they fill in pieces that are missing.”

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