In this scene from NBC’s Rise (2018-), Simon Saunders is sitting down with his family for dinner. After saying grace, Simon awkwardly reveals to his family the role he landed in the high school musical. Unlike the more conventional musical productions Simon has previously starred in, this year his school is putting on the rock musical, Spring Awakening (based on a 19th-century play by German Frank Wedekind), in which a group of teenagers discover and explore their sexual identities. After disclosing to his family that he will have a love scene with another boy, Simon seeks his family’s blessing.
What is Simon’s emotional state as he tells his family about his role in the musical? Why is he worried about disappointing them?
Why may this particular musical be controversial for Simon’s religious family?
Why do you think it’s important for Simon to play this role?
Can you think of other works of art (music, literature, film) that may be controversial for religious individuals or institutions? What makes them controversial?