Last year I covered The Hollywood Fringe Festival on Bitter Lemons and essentially based which Fringe shows I saw off who engaged me on Twitter. It wasn’t a purposeful thing, until I realized it could be, and saw a plethora of great shows because of it. I also met some wonderful people, and Meghan McCauley is one of those people. Everything from her press packet to the blog to using my tweet after seeing their show as their first review kept me completely engaged, and the actual show, Pagan Play, was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had watching a story unfold onstage.
Then she goes and produces Spring Awakening, a top 5 dream play for me. I can’t wait to see it and urge you to check them out. Not a Fringe Family show, though I’m sure teens and parents could be helped by seeing it together, much like our show.–CMJ
CMJ: How did you choose SA for your Fringe show this year?
MM: I can’t take credit for choosing the play – my friend, Patrick Riley (Co-Director and Actor), was the one who brought Spring Awakening to the table last fall. His enthusiasm and fascination with the play inspired me from the beginning. We read it together with Dana Murphy (Co-Director), discussed it briefly, and tabled it – when Patrick brought it up again a few months later, he told me that he and Dana wanted to bring it to the Hollywood Fringe Festival. The two of them are incredibly inspiring, and I was on board.
CMJ: Your choice of graphic design is unique but seems to be right on with the play. What was the process to get there?
MM: Dana and Patrick had compiled a collection of images they loved that inspired them early on in the process, when I was still getting on board. Marcel Dzama and Henry Darger were the two primary source artists. The art we’re using is by Marcel Dzama, a parade of shameless naked teenagers marching together – the young characters of Spring Awakening are struggling with their own developing bodies and sexuality and the shame associated with such change. The image embodies what the students wish they had.
CMJ: What is it that you love about theatre and how have you channeled that into this production?
MM: I love collaboration, do-it-yourself-ness, the celebration of imagination and creativity and resourcefulness that you find in theatre. Spring Awakening has been an exercise in all of this – the members of the cast are seriously talented and thoughtful, insightful and smart. They’ve all helped form the show under Patrick and Dana’s guidance and made my job as producer much easier because they’re so enthusiastic about promoting and publicizing. They are amazing collaborators. The imagination and creativity and resourcefulness that I love about theatre are present in every scene – the found set, the handcrafted masks, the costumes and props meticulously gathered and sewn by cast members.
CMJ: How are you able to work full-time, work full-time again with the Fringe, and produce this show?
MM: Well, that’s the question! I am a bit late-to-bed and early-to-rise, but it really comes down to having super incredible supportive people in my life everywhere I look. The members of Spring Awakening, the Hollywood Fringe staff, my boss at my regular full-time job, my friends, my family, my boyfriend – everyone is supportive in a way that I know I can lean on them when I need them. I also work harder because of that support, because I don’t want to let them down. I think another motivating and inspiring thing is that I’m not so different from most people that I have the fortune of knowing here – most of my peers and friends are working on four or five things at once, and kicking ass doing it. I love that. I love people who create the opportunities they want and I want to embody that, too.
CMJ: What do you want people to take away from SA?
MM: Once we pass our own adolescence, I think it’s all too easy to write off teenagers as foolish, immature, annoying, etc. These things might be true, sure – but these characters remind me that there’s also a lot of tenderness and depth to adolescents, and we owe it to them to take them seriously rather than rolling our eyes. They’re obsessive and self-centered, but they’re also curious and confused and lonely. One of the young characters of Spring Awakening cries: “I wish someone would come who I could just throw my arms around and talk to”. I want people to leave the theatre willing to be that someone to someone else – to listen, to care, to take the time for each other.
Click here to see Spring Awakening in its limited run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.