The University’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents “The Wolves”

Clare Merante, Contributing Writer

“There is an undeniable spell which is cast when you are the member of a teenage sports team. At a time of hormonal and bodily change, on the cusp of college admissions, you are asked to physically and emotionally exert yourself, pushing yourself to fulfill your own potential as well as that of your collective team,” director Emily Penick ’08 said. Presented by the University’s Department of Theatre and Dance, “The Wolves” was performed at Tustin Studio Theatre from Feb. 15-18. Written in 2016 by Sarah DeLappe, the play is about a girl’s high school soccer team. It premiered at The Duke at 42nd Street in New York in September 2016. “The Wolves” received the American Playwriting Foundation’s inaugural Relentless Award, the 2017 Obie Award for Ensemble work presented by the American Theatre Wing, and was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

 

The narrative follows nine girls through their Saturday morning warm-ups as they discuss sex, politics, and oftentimes, each other. The girls have little respect for each other and are constantly teasing whoever is in the line of fire. However, because of a horrible tragedy toward the end of the play, these teenage girls transform and learn the value of being part of something bigger than themselves. “The story of ‘The Wolves’ masterfully catches this transitional and defining moment in the lives of nine very different girls. With its hyper-realistic dialogue, ‘The Wolves’ sparkles with the fear, excitement, embarrassment, and high-stakes realities of what it means to be a young woman in America today,” Penick said.

The cast included Jessica Mount ’21, Graysen Bright ’19, Ava Boudreau ’21, Cam Kittell ’22, Caroline Tattersfield ’22, Sami Wurm ’22, Emma Battle ’22, Mackenzie Gross ’21, Sydney Dickinson ’22, and Nina Limongelli ’21. There was a clear transformation from the beginning of the play where the girls were rather cruel to each other to the end of the play where they screamed, “We are the wolves!” “‘The Wolves’ does not provide a mask behind which these actresses can hide. This story demands everything from them,” Penick said.

 

“It’s a lot of content packed into such a short time, but they absolutely nailed it every step of the way. Everything from the petty teenage struggles to the deeper, darker issues was painted out crystal clear,” Nathan Wintersgill ’20 said.

 

Instead of the traditional proscenium, the audience was sitting on bleachers on either side of the turf-covered stage. Between each scene, exciting light shows were accompanied by upbeat music. Throughout the play, the actresses wore warm-ups or their uniforms. They had been through conditioning for the beginning part of the semester as they were oftentimes running, kicking, and talking at the same time throughout the production.

“The show was impressively realistic … I felt like I was really watching a group of 16-year-olds,” Rebecca Rosenberg ’20 said. The audience had extreme reactions to what they saw happening on stage – or on the field, rather. There were many gasps, laughs, and even tears.

The next Theatre and Dance event, a play called “Blue Stockings,” will be performed April 12-15.

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