In Part 2 of a series of interviews with the cast of Metropolitan Youth Theatre’s Spring Awakening, meet Quenton Araujo.
Sam: Why did you want to appear in Spring Awakening at Metropolitan Youth Theatre?
Quentin: Spring Awakening is a show that strongly resonated with me when I started experiencing similar things to what the characters feel in the show. The music of the show also is music that I grew up with. Alternative Rock and Indie is personally my favorite genre of music. I loved the characters and the story and believed it to be one of the best musicals to hit Broadway.
Tell me a little bit about Melchior.
Melchior is an intellectual young teen in the late 19th century Germany. Society is significantly more oppressive towards their youth while teachers and parents often withhold important simple knowledge of sex and birth. Melchior is a child of a more progressive household and is allowed to teach himself many things through books. Although his perception of the world is limited to his personal experience and the books he reads. He later learns that it is very difficult to exist within his society as a revolutionist and radical. His passion and anger against his elders often leads him into trouble and he is conflicted within himself as an intellectual who can exceed his elders while still a child who is not in control of his pubescent emotions.
How is Melchior similar to yourself?
Melchior is frustrated with many things. He sees fault in himself that he wishes to amend while seeing the fault in the world that he wishes to fix. He cannot do both of these things at once. Although I never considered myself an intellectual I do stress the importance of knowledge in this society. Like the world of 19th century Germany, 21st century America is partially run by corruption, fear, and ignorance. Times have changed but many of the problems that occurred can relate to problems today. I also struggled as a young teen with my own emotions like many others and always found myself on the outside looking in. Melchior is still just a boy.
What has been your greatest challenge in portraying Melchior? How did you overcome these challenges?
Justifying Melchior’s actions throughout the play is very hard to do. Melchior has many qualities of a tragic hero. His difference is that he is young. He experiences such oppression at such a young age and he does only what comes natural to him. He does see problems with himself and I relate to that. His actions can be viewed as very unjust and that’s the way it was originally written but there is something that isn’t said with the character.
Are there any life experiences you have faced that have helped you prepare for this role?
Yes, teen suicide is a huge problem even today in America and around the world. Depression, anxiety, fear, and judgement is something many people have to struggle through while also not being recognized or treated properly or fairly by others. I have experienced many of these things around and within myself. Many people succumb to the pressure of life and feel like they have no other options. Puberty can also be one of the most difficult and terrifying things to understand. Growing up was a hard thing for me to do and puberty didn’t make it easier.
How have you interpreted Chad Vann’s vision for the show; how has he helped you to develop and mold your performance?
I love Chad Vann’s personal and faithful vision for the show. He gives every person a reason to be where they are, when they are, and why they are. He keeps the cast engaged and expects the best out of each individual. He has helped me personally with the toughest scenes. Before I experienced Spring Awakening under Chad’s direction I never quite related or forgave Melchior’s character for what he did. Chad doesn’t blame Melchior for the entire plot of the show. And so many people can view Melchior as the sole person who leads to the ruin of his friends. Chad makes Melchior likeable and lovable.
What have you learned about yourself as an actor throughout this process?
That there’s more that I can expect from myself. Gaining confidence, especially with such a revealing show. Before this show I never played the lead of a musical, besides Oliver, when I was much younger. But they are two completely different characters and Oliver is led around by much bigger characters. Melchior is a tragic hero with experiences that many can’t say they’ve experienced. But I believe Chad has helped me create a believable, honest, and good character.
What is it about Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s score that most moves you?
Steven Sater is so poetic and experienced. He makes many illusions to myths and ancient literary works. He also adds a level of personality to the characters with visceral word play in a modern tone. Duncan Sheik is an extremely talented composer and writer. I personally love his style and it resonates with me in his elements of garage alternative rock feels and psychedelic moody tunes.
Is there any particular moment or number in the show in which you feel you’re most able to express your inner feelings?
Every song and moment is a moment that I can immerse myself in. My favorite numbers are the high energy rock numbers but the ballads I can always find something personal within them.
Why should audiences come see your production of Spring Awakening? What makes the production different from others?
Every member of the cast is talented and given great attention when working. The director is so talented and young, while maintaining a strong reason why he is doing this show and that is made very clear throughout this amazing experience. To sum it up, the music is epic, the dancing is fun and wonderfully choreographed, and there will be some cries but also some laughs and smiles.
Meet the Cast of Metropolitan Youth Theatre’s ‘Spring Awakening’: Part 2: Quentin Araujo.
Meet the Cast of Metropolitan Youth Theatre’s ‘Spring Awakening’: Part 3: Lexi Rhem.
Meet the Cast of Metropolitan Youth Theatre’s ‘Spring Awakening’: Part 4: Carlos Castillo.
*The series of interviews are by Sam Cornbrooks.