Patience Kayira ’20
Assistant Arts Editor
The theatre department debuted a production of “The Wolves”—a new play by Sarah DeLappe on Friday, Feb. 23.
A finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize Award in Drama, “The Wolves” is taking the theatre world by storm. Directed by Daniel Elihu Kramer, “The Wolves” tells the story about high school girls on a soccer team. This might make you groan, but DeLappe’s play disturbs stereotypical notions about teenage girls.
Amidst the cattiness and drama, DeLappe incorporates challenging topics into the characters' dialogue: abortion, sexuality, justice and death—to name a few.
The characters are also identified by their jersey number, ‘#11,’ ‘#25,’ ‘#13,’ etc. In addition, the Smith students’ authentic portrayal of teenage girlhood made the performance engaging and funny.
A small cast of ten, “The Wolves” takes audience members through moments in between soccer games and practices.
All action takes place on the field. According to the Dramaturgical Notes, the students acting in the play practiced and trained with Smith’s assistant soccer coaches.
This served them well as they spent the majority of the play running across the stage. Aisling Keane ’19 who played #25 is even a varsity athlete.
Within an hour and a half, we hear gossip, debates and see attempts to fit in.
At the beginning of the play, #46 played by Jill Cannon ’19J joins the team.
Cliques have already formed with #7 and #14, Alana Young ’18 and Emma Claire Cook ’18, setting the tone as best friends. #25, who is the captain, acts as the wise peacemaker. #2, Emma Vorfeld ’21, is a humanitarian with a troubling secret. #8 June Lienhard ’21 is emotionally sensitive. #11, Nykole Darby ’19, has an answer for everything. #00—the goalie, Natalie Shindler ’19, is quiet but all-knowing and #13, Zoe Margolis ’19 is the wildcard.
#46’s attempts to fit in are often met with uncomfortable silence; the character’s awkwardness but sheer talent epitomizes the “new girl” trope.
In the opening scene, she blurts out, in an attempt to insert herself in a conversation with #2, #7 and # 14, “Is it because you’re pregnant?” We later learn, from #00, that one of the players actually did have an abortion.
The drama continues from there as the characters become more complex.
DeLappe cues the audience with subtle clues about what #2 might be hiding. At the beginning, one of the player’s remarks on #2’s weight saying, “You’re so skinny!” In another troubling scene, we see #2 on stage eating an entire bag of oranges.
This understated reference to an eating disorder gives the play a dark undertone. Even hearing the comment, “You’re so skinny” used amongst teenage girls, caused me to worry.
The friendship between #7 and #14 speaks to the culture of friendships between teenage girls.
Born out of the need to offend and outdo each other, #7 and #14 strengthen their friendship by excluding other team members. Yet, this trust is questioned, as many high school friendships are, when #7 befriends the new girl.
Despite the play’s focus on teenage life, the story is actually more complex than one would think.
The ending confirmed this for me. In the end, the team loses a member, #14, in a car accident. It was a little hard to get to this conclusion as the setting of the play never changes.
However, we see how death affects young people through the character’s subdued facial expressions and slowed speech.
In light of the Parkland School Shooting that took the lives of many young people, “The Wolves” is a strong reminder of the difficulty and danger young people are susceptible to.
“The Wolves” will continue to run from March 1 to 3 at Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre.