Hi! Welcome to my Writing page: a section of my website dedicated to sharing my voice, as well as the voices and works of others, and telling the stories we've always wanted to tell- unfiltered and honest.
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What They Don't Tell You
by Rikki Ziegelman
They told me my diagnosis and they told me what medications I needed to take in order to ease the pain. What they didn’t tell me was how much my entire life would change after one stupid knee injury.
On my 23rd birthday, the steps leading to my building’s trash courtyard gave me the incredible gift of a torn lateral meniscus. I can’t say it was my favorite gift to date, but I can confidently say that after 2 hospital visits, several different doctors and a few knee braces, it is certainly the most memorable. I was lucky enough to get an MRI done very early in the process and receive a diagnosis in less than a week from the initial injury. The fact that my speedy process was a rarity is truly scary to me, because I could hardly handle not knowing what was going on for 6 days. Can you imagine being completely immobile and not knowing why for more than a week?
Every doctor I have had during this process has been wonderful, truly. I always felt comfortable and for someone who complains about literally everything, I have no complaints about the way I was handled. Though all of the doctors were extremely caring of my knee, I lost sight of my mental health and I’ve since then been really struggling to keep it together. While I thought my depression was long gone, I have had a really tough time dealing with the consequences of hurting my knee.
They don’t tell you that very day seems like the last and the next, it feels like my own personal Groundhog Day or Russian Doll or whatever your favorite day-repeating film/show is. I wake up in the afternoon, I sit around on my laptop or my phone, I take a nap, I wake up, eat dinner, and sit on my ass for the rest of the night. I’ve already finished 4 TV series, I’m caught up on all of my regular shows, I finished 2 books, and I’ve taken up latch hooking. I feel like I’m losing my mind. I keep telling everyone how excited I am to get back to work, but to be honest- sitting around has made me realize how mundane my regular life is, I’m just too busy to realize it. My mind races at a mile a minute when it’s just me, myself and I sitting around with nothing to do and nowhere to go. I can’t stop thinking about the future and what I want to do with my life, but I know for certain I do not want to be working random part time jobs forever. My normal life leaves me happy, yet unfulfilled.
They don’t tell you how expensive this would all be. I haven't really worked in almost a month, so how the hell am I supposed to pay for 75 different copays, a $100 knee brace (that didn't even stay on my knee), Ubers everywhere because I can’t walk, AND put food on my plate? Where am I supposed to get this money from? I’m really lucky that my parents have been so supportive and helping me, but the fact that I can’t support myself is eating me alive. I feel so helpless.
They don’t tell you how ugly you’ll feel after 3 weeks of having no reason to do your hair and make up and put on nice clothes. If I have no reason to get dressed, why would I? Why would I put on jeans when I’m more comfortable in sweatpants? Why would I straighten my hair for no reason? Or put on make up just to sit on the couch? For a person who’s pretty normally confident, I feel like a sack of shit. I want company, but I don't feel good enough to see anyone.
While I wish I could end this with a bright conclusion on how it all gets better, but I’m not quite there yet. The bright side is I know I’ll be okay, but the dark side is I have no idea when. I know that this injury won’t last forever, but I don’t know when I’ll heal. Every doctor has told me that we just have to let time do its thing, and I just feel like time isn't on my side. What I do know, though, is that this entire experience has been eye opening as to how I need to treat my body in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Currently, I’m just trying to remind myself that just because I’m experiencing mental health issues right now, it does not delegitimize the progress that I have made to get this far. I can confidently say that while my knee is regaining its strength, so am I.
Riverdale High's "Heathers: The Musical
by Rikki Ziegelman
About a week ago, the CW announced that Riverdale will release its second musical episode, themed with hit songs from the 2016 Off Broadway production of “Heathers: The Musical.” The episode is predicted to showcase the musicals most popular numbers and feature everyone’s favorite Riverdale High students.
Orrrr, not. Upon reviewing the schools ‘cast list,’ I was quick to realize that my favorite Riverdale High student Ethyl Muggs did not make the cast list, along with my favorite character from the musical, Martha Dunstock. Now I don’t know exactly what happens in the episodes leading up to the musical event on March 20th, and Riverdale is quite dramatic so Ethyl could totally die in these upcoming episodes. But that is no excuse for the lack of representation for bigger girls being brought forward by the show-runners for not featuring one of the musical’s most prominent roles. For a show that people never fail to call diverse, this is not a very diverse move.
For anyone that knows Heathers: The Musical, you’d know that the musical literally cannot be done without Martha. That shouldn’t even be a question. CW show-runners are noted on Variety preaching about how important diversity is to them when creating a set of characters, but they fail to represent big girls in a musical that finally gives them an opportunity to shine. Martha Dunstock isn’t just an excuse for an 11-o’clock sad belting ballad, she is an example of someone who loves unconditionally with her whole heart and a model of what a non toxic friend should emulate. She is someone who is not afraid to be herself and she sees the good in people. But the network would rather show case Betty, Veronica and Cheryl in short skirts dancing to Candy Store because it’ll get more views. And don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely going to be iconic- but it just furthers the conversation about diversity on television and proves that these things are once again being over looked.
I’m not saying that the entire episode should have been centered around this very much supporting character, I’m aware that each episode of Riverdale is a generous 45 minutes long with at least 6 minutes dedicated to Archie just staring without a shirt on, but it wouldn’t have taken much to type a name on a cast list to make us big girls out there feel included. Feel seen. If Martha Dunstock didn’t exist, it would just limit the amount of roles I can actually play in this industry even more. So for that, I feel the need to stick up for her. To defend her. To speak on her behalf. I’ll still watch the episode, but this hasn’t gone unnoticed. To the CW, try harder next time.
Evelyn: A New Musical
by Rikki Ziegelman
Tonight is the night that the company of Evelyn: A New Musical gets to present what we’ve worked so hard for. I became involved in the entire Evelyn process in 2016, when I was cast as Helen during the first reading in the Regina Peruggi room at Marymount Manhattan College. At the time, I had no idea that I would become so heavily involved as the project progressed. However, the first time I listened to Quenton’s music, I did immediately know that whatever this show was going to be was something special.
The first workshop was an interesting experience for sure. Regardless of the fact that it was my first time doing a show outside of high school, the actual process of piecing together a workshop of a new musical- especially in it’s early stages, requires so much hard work and dedication; even if you’re going to have the script and score in front of you for the actual presentation. I’m usually the type of person who saves things for last minute and I’m a professional at only doing the bare minimum- but there was something about this piece that made me excited to come home and learn music, or actually sit and think about the text at hand. I saw a lot of potential in this musical, and I wanted to follow it further.
So I did just that, but in doing that I found more than just a passion project- I found a lifelong partner and a best friend. Quenton Ellis is so much more than just a great book writer and an incredible composer. He is so much more than the genius that he already is. Quenton is an incredible friend filled with so much love and passion with a smile that could just make you melt. His compassion for others is inspiring, and his knowledge goes far beyond just music and lyrics. Quenton has become one of the best friends I have ever had, and I am so honored that he continues to allow me to be a part of his life.
Every step of this process has been a learning experience for everyone involved. Between our lab in 2016 and our staged workshop in early 2018, we truly thought we were ready to take on the world. When we were given the opportunity to present the show at Dixon Place, we rejoiced with tears in our eyes. For once, something was working out the way it was supposed to.
Spearheading the project and taking on the role of producer was a huge step for me, considering I don’t have any sort of degree in any sort of theatre management position. However, with the addition of my wonderful friend Hayden Anderson, we were able to figure things out for ourselves. With my experience in journalism and press representation and his experience in arts administration and management, we were able to get this show on its feet with a dream cast of 11 and a kick-ass creative team- all made of current college students and recent college grads.
I cannot lie and say the process has been easy. In fact, at certain times it almost seemed as though the entire world was against us. We fought with the loss of our rehearsal space, less than successful fundraisers, cast members dropping out, any basically anything you can imagine. But we did it. We made it through, and that makes all of the hardships worth it.
This entire process has been full of headaches, fights, and changes. We found ourselves saying “How could we have known?” more than anticipated, and at times we all wanted to pull our hair out. However, I would not change my part in this project for anything in the world. I have learned so much about myself as a performer, as a journalist, as a producer, and as a person throughout the last few years and I’m so excited to see what the next version of Evelyn: A New Musical has in store for us.
So to everyone who has touched this piece throughout the years, thank you for your contribution to this incredible project. To everyone who has donated on our GoFundMe and to those who attended our fundraisers and purchased merchandise, thank you for supporting us and believing in us. To Heather, our incredible director- thank you for bringing this vision to life. To Maddy, our leading lady but also my very best friend- thank you for sharing this experience with me. To Hayden, my producing partner and eventual husband- thank you for believing in me every step of the way and for helping me do this. And of course, to my incredible friend Quenton Ellis- thank you for absolutely changing my life and for giving me a reason to keep going. You have made me the person I am today, and I will never ever forget that.
TDF's Autism Friendly Shows
A few months ago, I found out that The Theatre Development Fund (TDF) has a Theatre Accessibility Program- which is a program that produces Autism-friendly theatre. This was so exciting to hear, as I am always a fan of inclusivity in the theatre. After further research, I found out this program has Autism-friendly versions of My Fair Lady, Wicked, Spongebob, Frozen, Phantom of the Opera, Aladdin, and several other shows. I also found out that this program has been in existence since 2011.
This was even more surprising to me than the program itself. This program has been ongoing for 7 years now, and I am just finding out about it. Not that I am any representation of the community as a whole, but something this awesome and inclusive shouldn’t be hidden in the dark.
After asking people both in and out of the industry, only about 40% of people knew this. Half of the majority, theatre people involved, even asked what TDF was.
Upon further research, I found out that the Theatre Accessibility Program was only the beginning in terms of making theatre accessible for individuals with disabilities. TDF also provides select dates of shows where they are able to accommodate patrons who are deaf or have hearing loss and patrons who are blind or have low vision, as well as accommodate patrons who have limited mobility. More recently, Roundabout launched a new app that provides Closed Captioning on every one of their shows. The app is called ‘GalaPro,’ and it provides captions on the patron’s mobile device for those who are foreign as well as for those who have hearing disabilities. The app only works on airplane mode to reassure that any incoming notifications will be blocked, further more welcoming cellphones into the theatre. This is a huge step for the theatre community because not only is it making theatre accessible, but it’s making the accessibility convenient.
So, why aren’t people talking about this? We all sit around and fight for diversity and inclusivity within the theatre but once the theatre is actually is inclusive, we aren’t paying attention. One of the top most popular articles on Playbill this week was literally titled “Idina Menzel on Why It’s a Relief to Do a Straight Play.” When did this become more important than being able to share art with everyone? Don’t get me wrong, I’m super happy that Idina Menzel is relieved, but I’m even happier knowing that individuals with disabilities can be enchanted by the magic of Frozen and Wicked and be able to experience these shows in a way that makes them feel comfortable and welcomed.
Moreover, all-inclusive theatre should not have to take the backseat while gossip drives the bus. We need to make sure that people are aware of the options available, so that they can choose the experience most comfortable for them. The fact that we are at a place in society where we are able to accommodate patrons with disabilities is so incredible. It is programs like these that remind me why I chose to do this for the rest of my life. To me, this is what theatre is all about.
by Rikki Ziegelman
Yesterday we started a new month. Chapter 9 within the year. A month that everyone seems to hate because it brings school and bad memories and it ends summer. This year I dared myself to make September my month. To take those closed doors and open new ones. To embrace the new beginnings.
This is my first September in which I’m not going back to school. When I first graduated, the very thought of September brought me anxiety. I was used to not being in school during June, July and August- but the thought of an unstructured September was the root of my post-grad anxiety. It crept up on me very quickly (I literally still feel like it’s early August). But September is here and I didn’t drop dead. I didn’t fall into a void of confusion or question who I am. It just happened. The sky is still blue and water is still wet and I’m still here and alive and breathing. This month is the start of new beginnings and a new life. I spent all of college begging for opportunity and finally decided to make it for myself. I am excited to learn who I am when school is not involved.
But of course, there are things I need to work on as well. Things that will probably take longer than one month to adjust to. I think the most important thing I need to learn is that sometimes it’s okay to just spend the day at home and not do anything. I used to be really terrified of just being in my own company and luckily I’ve grown tremendously from that. Now, although I love it, I need to allow myself to be okay with just relaxing. I went through so many years of schooling where if I was relaxing, it meant I was putting something off. Now, relaxing just genuinely means relaxing, and I need to allow myself to be okay with that.
I also need to learn how to live a structured life when I don’t have to. Waking up at 2pm everyday is awesome in theory, but probably not the healthiest in practice. Napping for 3 hours at a time isn’t healthy. Going to bed at ungodly hours of the night isn’t great either. I need to treat my body the way it deserves to be treated. I need to listen to my body and my heart and my mind.
And lastly, I need to find the balance between stability and fulfillment. It’s hard. It’s hard because I know that the practical thing to do is a get a full-time, sit behind a desk, 9-5 job so I can pay my rent and live my life. But nothing about that sounds exciting to me. What’s most exciting to me are the things that fulfill me artistically. So how can I find a solid job that feeds my creative soul and pays the bills?
As much as I feel stuck in this ‘post-grad rut’, I’m also really excited to watch myself grow from it. This is a part of life. It’s just another tale from an aspiring artist- but this story is mine. So please, don’t wake me up when September ends. As a matter of fact, don’t even let me fall asleep.
by Rikki Ziegelman
"Insatiable"? More Like Unbearable
by Rikki Ziegelman
Recently, a trailer for the new Netflix original series, “Insatiable,” found its way onto my twitter timeline. With the random resurface of Debby Ryan into pop culture, I thought I’d check it out- and I was throughly disappointed. I don’t know where exactly I drew the line. It could’ve been within the first 4 seconds of the trailer where Debby Ryan wore a (terrible) prosthetic fat suit. It could’ve been the unjustified glorification of fat shaming. Or it could’ve been the actual fucking concept of the series: a bigger girl loses weight and automatically becomes sexy and then seeks revenge.
This entire series is problematic for several different reasons. If they were going to follow through with this terrible, terrible plot point- they could have at the very LEAST hired an actress who was actually a big girl. So many of us are struggling to find jobs because the industry consistently fails to see us as anything other than our weight- so this was simply an awful casting choice and just a way to lure an audience in (which is just insane- because when the fuck was the last time you ever THOUGHT about Debby Ryan?)
I would also, very briefly, like to address one of my favorite (and by favorite, I mean least favorite) lines of the trailer, which is “While my classmates were out losing their virginity, I was at home stuffing another hole.” Um.. hello? When the hell did we, as a society, establish that bigger people can’t have sex? Because I, personally, never got that memo.
Moving on. The whole plot of this series has so many problems attached to it, it’s a shame that there is money being wasted on this. It’s a shame that younger girls who are heavier are going to think that losing weight is the only way they can be desirable. It’s a shame that younger boys are going to watch the protagonist be bullied for her weight and think that bullying is okay. Does Netflix not understand that what they broadcast matters and affects people? First we had 13 Reasons Why, which glorified suicide, sexual assault, and revenge. Now this? This is unacceptable.
To Netflix- do better. Shame on you for creating this project that is, and has already, hurt and offended so many people. Your service is no longer needed. I would rather use a sketchy website and risk getting a virus on my computer than use your service and give your company money. You don’t deserve it.
To Debby Ryan- are you kidding me? You were an unproblematic retired Disney star who actually had her life together, and now you’re going to ruin it and give yourself a bad reputation because of this show. And honestly? You deserve it for even signing on to this project.
To the girls who are younger and bigger and who are going to watch this show and think they have to change themselves- I am sorry. I am so sorry that this is the television that you have to look up to. It’s a shame, and there’s only so much I can try and do to change it. Please do not watch this and think that the only way to be beautiful is to be skinny. You are beautiful no matter how much you weight or what size clothes you wear.
I encourage you, whoever you are, to boycott this show and not give it the attention that it wants. The journey to loving yourself and loving your body is a long and hard one, and I know I personally struggle each and every day to feel comfortable in my own skin. This is not the show our society needs.
by Rikki Ziegelman
My name is Rikki. I am 22 years old. I live in the greatest city in the world. I like disco music and hot sauce. My favorite animal is a pig. I used to be a bowler. And I am clinically depressed.
The last time I posted a column was in January of 2017. It was titled “Being Alive” and I discussed how I found something that made me feel motivated for the first time in a long time. This was my simple and non-verbal way of saying, “I’m depressed and I don’t know how to ask for help.”
My hiatus from writing is, without a doubt, a reflection on my mental health journey. I continued to make excuses for not actually sitting down, opening a new Word document, and just letting my mind wander and I didn’t really have a platform to express myself on. And honestly? I didn’t really care. My motivation within my personal life slowly began to decline as well. I had a career crisis and was willing to never think about doing theatre again. I kept myself out and busy because I was afraid of being alone with myself and didn’t really enjoy the comfort of my own company. I was either hardly eating or eating too much, blah blah blah- you get the point. I was text-book depressed. But I didn’t really think it was worth getting help for. I had gone through rough patches before and always came out on top, so this shouldn’t have been any different, right? Wrong. This was depression. This wasn’t me having a bad day in high school because I got dumped, this wasn’t me being upset that I got a bad grade. This was real. I had a chemical imbalance within myself and I needed to get help.
It wasn’t long before I began taking antidepressants. I told the people closest around me that my lifestyle was going to change, and they were extremely understanding and supportive.
I don’t remember an exact moment when things started to get better. I don’t remember when I decided I wanted to wake up in the morning. I don’t remember when I decided to go out more. I don’t remember when I started saying ‘yes’ to plans that I knew would be exhausting. There wasn’t one specific day or one specific moment, but when I had realized that I started to enjoy my own company, I knew that I was making some sort of improvement. It isn’t all thanks to the medication and the psychiatrist appointments- just admitting that I had a problem was a big help in itself. Some days are good and some days are not so good, but now I am stronger and ready to conquer whatever comes my way.
So, let me reintroduce myself. My name is Rikki. I am 22 years old. I live in the greatest city in the world. I like disco music and hot sauce. My favorite animal is a pig. I used to be a bowler. And I am actively working on bettering myself, making myself happy, and growing stronger each day. And even on the bad days, I will continue to persist.
Depression is not a dirty word. It is not something to be ashamed of. It is deadly and scary and nauseating and telling people that you are suffering does not make you weak. Asking for help does not make you annoying. And although it may seem like everyone is against you, the only enemy you really need to face is yourself.
This is my comeback. To writing, to expression, to trying to establish a name for myself, to everything. I am ready to breathe, to love, to laugh, to cry, and most importantly- to live.
Bisexuality Is Valid
by Rikki Ziegelman
Bisexuality is simply being attracted to two genders. The prefix "bi" means two, and the word "sexuality" pertains to an individuals sexual preference. Nowhere in this term is the word gay. No prefix in the word means "just a phase." Believe it or not, it is possible for an individual to be attracted to more than one gender.
If an individual who labels themselves as bisexual, dates someone of the same gender- it doesn't make them any more or less bisexual, nor does it make them gay. If an individual who labels themselves as bisexual, dates someone of the opposite gender- it doesn't make them any more of less bisexual, nor does it make them straight. If an individual does not accept another human being because of their sexual preference, it doesn't make them any more or less a person, it just makes them an asshole.
Just because a person is bisexual does not mean they are attracted to you. Bisexuals still have types. They might be attracted to two genders, but that doesn't mean they are attracted to every single person. Just because a person is bisexual does not mean they are more likely to cheat on you. Bisexuals are still capable of being in a monogamous relationship. Just because a person is bisexual does not mean they are always up for a threesome. Bisexuals are not just a tool to 'spice up' your heteronormative sex life, bisexuals are human beings- and badass ones at that.
Why does our world find it impossible to celebrate bisexuality? Why does society feel the need to tear down the idea of being attracted to two genders? Why does the media feel the need to portray bisexuals in television as villains? Why does the LGTBQ+ community continuously get so much hate for executing so much love?
There is no definitive reason. I don't have an answer. We live in a world that will always have at least an ounce of hate. So where do we go from here? We keep loving. We keep educating. There is a generation above us who did not grow up in the loving environment that we are continuing to build for our future. Tell them. Tell them about the love that our generation shares. Explain to them how sexuality is a spectrum, just like light and sound. Show them the communities we've built. Motivate them. We may be young but we are powerful. This is our time. This is our world. Utilize it. Live in it.
Being A "Big Girl" In Musical Theatre
by Rikki Ziegelman
This is a topic that has taken me a lot of courage to actually sit down and write, so please- bare with me here.
I have been doing theatre since size wasn't an issue. I played Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast in one month and Jojo from Seussical in the next month and it didn't matter. It didn't matter how I looked or how much I weighed. Sure, you could base those reasonings on the fact that this was children's theatre and technically they had no other casting choices. However, I do feel as though casting has gotten a bit out of hand.
My experiences in theatre have been limited by the way that I look and I am truly at a point in my life where I am tired of it. "Type" has become something that we are tied to and cannot escape from. I am a woman who can belt, but I am also a woman who can mix. I am a woman who can make you laugh, but I am also a woman that can make you cry. I am a woman who may be a bit bigger than others, but that doesn't make me any less of a fucking woman.
If I had a dollar for every time I was asked if I had played Tracy Turnblad, I would have enough money to buy myself a pair of LaDucas (which I would use because guess what? Big girls can dance too). To the 14 people who have asked me in the last month, yes- I do have Kindergarten Boyfriend from Heathers The Musical in my book. But why am I typed into the "big nerdy girl" all the time? Why am I constantly told that I won't get any work until I'm 30 and can comfortably play a mother? (I say comfortably because you bet your ass I have before because I'm "too big" to play someone my own age). Why is it that when I tell someone I am auditioning for Natalie from Next To Normal, I am looked at like I have 4 heads? Why is it that if a big girl plays Wendla in Spring Awakening, it means they are taking the show in a "different direction"? There are several roles in the history of theatre that have no ideal weight or body image in the character description, yet, we are constantly reminded that an ingenue must be a skinny girl because they are the most "desirable".
Talent seems to be a foreign concept these days, so why do I spend money on training? Sure I can belt the C in "Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm" that Rosemary sings in How To Succeed in Business, but I won't even be looked at twice because of my body type. I am just as youthful as Olive or Logan from Spelling Bee, but those girls don't look like me- or at least the directors don't think so. I've developed a legit voice that I would love to put to use. I can mix just like Cosette in Les Miserablés, but none of the Marius' would fall in love with a bigger Cosette, right? Because society today views big girls as ugly girls. There is no in-between. If you're big, you're naturally just not appealing on or off stage.
This is not to say that type does not exist at all. Yes I know, I would make a funny Martha in Heathers and a great Rose in Dogfight. There are a bunch of shows where type and body image are a necessity and I absolutely understand that. This is to say that big girls in theatre shouldn't always be categorized as big girls. Big girls in theatre shouldn't always be the comedic relief. Big girls in theatre shouldn't be some sexualized, "big boobs", "big ass", "bad bitch" type of character. Big girls should just be looked at as girls and given the same opportunities as everyone else.
I am proud of my body type, but most of all, I'm proud of myself.
The Timeless Themes of Spring Awakening
by Rikki Ziegelman
Everyone has one show that has stayed with them for years, and for years to come. Whether it was the first show you saw as a child, the first show you were in, or just a show that has the lyrics to explain how you feel, when you're at a loss for words. Theatre has a certain way of moving individuals by creating characters that can comprehend their surroundings, whenever we have trouble doing so.
One show that holds a certain significance in my heart is Spring Awakening, for its immense impact on the theatre community as well as on my endeavor as a performer. Each lyric, each movement, and each line holds such symbolism. Albeit the show is set in Germany during the 1800’s, it's themes and motives still hold true in the 2015 technology-run society. The show recently announced its return to Broadway after Deaf West Theatre’s extremely successful run in California.. The show hasn't even been closed for a decade and yet theatre goers seem to be raving about its return. But what is it about Spring Awakening that is so appealing to audiences?
Spring Awakening is about rebellion, which is interesting because the show is so religion and authority based. It's about coming to terms with your motives and how they will further affect your family, your friends, and yourself. There is a constant mention of God and Christ; yet, Act I ends with a sex scene that is questionably considered a rape. So morally, are these kids obtaining to their religious standards by constantly praying? Or, are they “inept” and “degenerate” for experimenting with their innocence? Can prayer excuse your mistakes, or are these actions even considered mistakes at all?
Spring Awakening is about power and dominance. Power among peers, power among elders, and power among significant others. There is a reason why Wendla wants to know so much about her body and her sexuality, there's a reason why Moritz acts up during Latin class, there's a reason why Melchoir is so persistent when Wendla is just about to say yes to having sex. They yearn for power- both consciously and subconsciously. Which is why the finale, “Song of Purple Summer,” is so crucial to the shows ending. The color purple symbolizes royalty, and with royalty comes power. Power over others, power over situations, power to succeed.
Spring Awakening is about innocence. These kids are so desperate to know more about themselves in terms of their sexuality. They know what they read in books, they know what they feel, and they know how they want to feel- but how to perform all of these actions and how to handle the sensation is what they struggle with. Some may argue that Melchoir raped Wendla, which is a valid accusation because of the play version and Wendla’s confusion and questioning. Others may argue that Melchoir was just as innocent as Wendla was- he knew how sex worked and that he wanted to release his “frustration,” but he had no idea what he was doing to the innocent lady lying before him.
Spring Awakening is about change. Change within yourself, change within others, and change within time. “Purple Summer” is an important symbol for the allusion of time- for it is a flower that blossoms every summer. Time passes, flowers are planted, blossom, and then they fade away. No matter the weather or the time; just like us. We are born, we live, we die. We beat on no matter what because that is life. We have changes within ourselves, such as puberty, sexual awakening, or moving past your former mistakes. We change every single day whether we want to or not.
So back to reality now- why is this 18th century show so important to us? Why do we adore it so much? Because we identify with the kids struggling with themselves. No matter what age you are or where you are in your life. Maybe you aren't right now, maybe not yesterday, and maybe not tomorrow. However at some point we all will struggle with a fight for power. At some point we will lose our innocence in some way, shape or form. At some point we have or have had a spring awakening, and we will chant our song of purple summer.