SELMA – Some of the scenes in Selma Arts Center’s latest production, 'Spring Awakening,' may be shocking but the actors say they’re needed to send a strong message.

“I think the play will absolutely be startling to a lot of people,” said Kindle Cowger who has the role of a character named Wendla Bergmann. “I think it’s necessary for the show and to get the message across.”

“Spring Awakening,” rated R for language and adult content, explores the journey from adolescence to adulthood in what’s been called an electrifying fusion of morality, sexuality and rock and roll.

Lead character Melchoir Gabor is played by Kai Di Mino who describes him as a rebel who’s been granted so much intellectual freedom that it in a sense backfires on not only himself but his friends as well.

“Melchoir’s kind of the natural and most things come easy to him. He’s brilliant, physically fit and attractive. He’s what a lot of people would idolize,” Di Mino said. Disenchanted from the world that the adults in his life have tried to teach, Melchoir is “often at odds with what he calls the ‘parentocracy.’”

So while the storyline revolves around Melchior, Di Mino said he would not describe him as a hero or a role model.

“He’s so sure of himself that it’s to a flaw. His desire to educate some of his friends ends up becoming a problem. Instead of really bringing freedom to Moritz, he goes through a decline. He also ends up putting Wendla in dire circumstances.”

Cowger said her character is so naïve that she’s taken advantage of because she doesn’t understand some harsh realities of life.

“She’s doesn’t know anything about the real world or life because her mother won’t tell her. Because of the things that happen to her, and what she finds out through the show, she becomes very aware. It all hits her like a ton of bricks because it all happens so fast to her. It could have been prevented.”

Cowger said she hopes the audience realizes it’s important to listen to children and be proactive with information.

“There are lyrics in the very last line of the show to listen to what is in the heart of the child. I think that’s a huge message to the audience.”

Jared Serpa has the role of Moritz and hopes their performance can start conversations about topics that may be initially difficult to talk about.

“We’re at a time where everybody’s getting more informed and wanting to learn more,” Serpa said during rehearsals. “People want to have more open conversations, not only with their communities, but that translates into their family and friends talking with them about things they might not have before. I think this is play shows that talking about something like this in a mature, sophisticated way is the way to do this, rather than blindly going into things.”

“Spring Awakening” runs from Jan. 26 to Feb. 10 and is directed by Dominic Grijalva. Christina Robles is the producer and choreography is by Michael Flores. Vocal direction is by Mindy Ramos and musical direction by Tim Fletcher.

Guests are invited to attend a special cabaret performance by the cast immediately following Friday, Feb. 2 performance. The Center will also feature original artwork inspired by “Awakening.” Admission to this cabaret is by a $5 suggested donation.

Friday, Feb. 9 will be the student discount night with $5 off tickets. That night includes a talk-back with all cast and crew following the performance.

There will be unique staging of this production and thus seating is limited. Patrons are encouraged to pre-order their tickets. Seating is general and not assigned.

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