Jonathan Franzen ’81 comes to Spring Awakening

On Saturday, March 31 at 7pm – Swarthmore alumnus Jonathan Franzen will attend a performance of his translation of Wedekind’s Spring Awakening and will follow the performance with a talkback discussion.

The Department of Theater presents Frank Wedekind’s controversial modern classic Spring Awakening, on Friday, March 30 at 4:30pm, Saturday, March 31 at 2pm & 7pm, and Sunday, April 1 at 7pm in the Pearson-Hall Theater, LPAC.

Re-imagined in a ruined public bathroom, this darkly comic drama depicts matters as profane and sublime as sexual awakening, academic pressure, and the question of religion through the giddy and tempestuous kaleidoscope of adolescence.

This masterpiece of German Expressionism is translated by Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections, winner of the National Book Award, Swarthmore class of ‘81. Franzen’s translation was originally commissioned by Professor Emeritus Lee Devin in 1986, when it was performed on campus in a production directed by Abigail Adams of The People’s Light and Theatre Company. This is only the second time the translation has been performed, and the text is now scheduled for publication by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in Fall 2007.

K. Elizabeth Stevens, Assistant Professor of Acting and Directing, makes her directing debut at Swarthmore College, guiding a cast of 18 students. Costumes and sets designed by Marsha Ginsberg, Assistant Professor and Resident Set & Costume Designer. Lighting Design by James P. Murphy. Saturday evening performance will be followed by a talkback with translator Jonathan Franzen ‘81.

All performances and the talkback are free and open to the public without reservations. Early arrival is strongly recommended, as seating is limited.

Those who wish to attend the Saturday talkback with Jonathan Franzen but not the Saturday evening performance should arrive at 9:45pm.

Warning: this play is intended for adult audiences. Production contains nudity, graphic sexuality, strong language, and cigarette smoking. Jonathan Franzen’s presence is made possible with the generous support of the President’s Office, the Department of English Literature, the German Section of the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures. For more information, call (610) 957-6164 or email