The players onstage in The Wolves have to get ready to take the field. But they can’t stop the flow of ideas and emotions coursing through their minds. Information comes at them from all sides, all the time. Like young people everywhere, they learn by talking things through with their friends. Their overlapping conversations demand careful listening from the audience, and constant attention between the actors. This makes The Wolves a real ensemble piece, said Erika Mori (#7): “This script doesn’t rest on any one person, but on the performance of the whole, just like a sports team.”
To prepare for the show, our capable cast worked together not only in the rehearsal room, but also on the soccer field. The production requires intensely physical warmups, drills, and agility work, as the actors depict the close friendships and rivalries of high school athletics. “It makes me very nostalgic, as someone who played soccer in high school, to feel the camaraderie of this team onstage and on the field,” said Tara Kelso (#8). Kate Parkin (#46) observed: “Playing soccer again for this show has truly been a gift, because I’m remembering how fun the sport actually is, and how empowering it can be to learn new tricks and work together as a team.”
These Girls Seem Real.
“At first, when I read the script, I thought, who cares what a bunch of high school girls think?” said Máire Higgins (#13). “But Sarah DeLappe was inspired to write this play by an art exhibit focusing on civil conflict and war, and people’s casual responses to it.” DeLappe has said that while writing the play, she imagined its structure like a war movie — but instead of young men in trenches, she depicted girls preparing for battle on the soccer field, doing pregame stretches in the moments before entering the fray. The playwright’s style captures the quicksilver sounds of adolescent conversation, blending idealism and compassion with snarky comments, mentioning the Khmer Rouge and Hermione Granger in the same moment.
These players are eager to make sense of the world. They are sharp, observant critics of the adult behavior they see, from hungover coaches to overworked parents. As Hannah Haller (#2) said: “There is so much we can learn from these young, broken, raw, yet strong characters.” They’re even quicker to judge each other. As the young women consider the horrors of genocide side-by-side with the discomforts of their menstrual cycles, they try to piece together their own identities. They can be generous and selfish, fierce and vulnerable. In a word: complicated.
A Team, Onstage and Off
As #25, the team captain, Lois Shih reminds the other players, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” Offstage, she’s proud to be part of the creative team at BETC working on this Relentless Prize-winning script: “So often, society paints women to be weak and useless, but in The Wolves we get to reflect the true grit, strength, and power women encompass.” It’s not every day this many women have the chance to work together onstage, noted Rebakah Goldberg (#11): “I feel like it’s been really empowering to work with all women, being unapologetically women.” Catalina Garayoa (#14) added, “Being a part of this team has been epic and empowering. Every actor compliments the unique traits of each character like a puzzle piece.”
Soccer brings this group of girls together, in part, because each teammate can really understand the pressures that the other girls face. As Hannelore Rolfing (#00) said: “Being a part of The Wolves has taken me back to a time of being a very young woman in a cold world. Living in that world made us tough. It forced us to forge relationships and alliances with one another because, at least then, it felt like no one else could ever understand the world the way we saw it.” Kate agreed that The Wolves “explores acceptance so well: how difficult it can be to accept others who are different, how hard it is to even accept ourselves and our own quirks, and how tough it is to accept loss — whether it’s the loss of a game, or the loss of a loved one.”