Wedekind's play about adolescent sexuality is as disturbing today as when it was first produced Wedekind's notorious play Spring Awakening was written in 1891 but had to wait the greater part of a century before it received its first complete performance in Britain, at the National Theatre in 1974. The production was highly praised, much of its strength deriving from this translation by Edward Bond and Elisabeth Bond Pable, 'scrupulously faithful both to Wedekind's irony and his poetry.' The Times This translation of Spring Awakening was first performed at the National Theatre, London on 24 May 1974. For this edition the translator, Edward Bond, has written a note on the play and a factual introduction to Wedekind's life and work.
Frank Wedekind (1864-1918) was a journalist, advertising manager, secretary to a circus, cabaret artiste, satirist, convict and actor as well as the author of twenty-one plays, many of which reflect aspects of his extraordinary career. He himself paid for the publication of Spring Awakening (1891), though it was not staged till 1906. (In England it was banned from public performance until 1963.) Earth Spirit (1895), the first of his plays to be seen on stage (1898), introduced the sexually voracious Lulu, who also figured in Pandora's Box (1904) and subsequently in Alban Berg's opera (Lulu, 1935) and in Peter Barnes' conflation of the two plays seen in England in 1970. Other notable plays include The Marquis of Keith (1900; British premiere, 1974), King Nicolo (1902), Castle Wetterstein (1910) and Franziska (1912). Wedekind was greatly admired by Brecht, and his satiric songs still have considerable bite.