When you walk into the Jungle Theater this month, you’ll feel like you’re walking into a soccer stadium. In reality, it’s the set for Sarah Delappe’s The Wolves, complete with stadium lighting. This smart, intense but often comical play centers around a young women’s soccer team, and you’ll spend ninety minutes captivated by this talented cast of nine women: Chloe Armao, Megan Burns, Meredith Case, Michelle de Joya, Becca Hart, McKenna Kelly-Eiding, Isabella Star LaBlanc, Rosey Lowe, and Shelby Rose Richardson.
The women are at the stage in their lives where they’re aware of world news and history but don’t quite have a full grasp on it. For example, they know about the Khmer Rouge but not necessarily how to pronounce it. And they wonder if you can Skype in Cambodia or if China has Twitter. In an effort to understand the world around them, they relate things back to themselves. A world leader has emphysema? One of them remarks that they have a grandparent with emphysema.
The first couple scenes take place as they warm up for a game on the field. They quickly flow from one subject to another, as well as have side conversations about teenager things, and I would never guess this is scripted. Director Sarah Rasmussen introduced the show and mentioned they started learning about soccer and working together in August; you can tell this is a tight knit group of women which makes you believe the team has been together for several seasons. Rasmussen mixes up the staging to keep things visually interesting, and helps bring the middle of the show up gradually in a crescendo with a heart-pounding climax, only to drop the volume in the second half while still maintaining a certain amount of tension throughout.
Scenic design by Sarah Bahr is simple yet effective as a wave of artificial turf swoops up the back of the stage to stadium lights. I really enjoy the fact that everything that happens in the story is centered around the field. The first half lets us get a feel for the different personalities on the team and various dynamics, while the second half strips things down and we learn how they respond to personal tragedy. The field acts as a solid grounder for all of this to take place.
The Wolves isn’t necessarily a “coming of age” play, but it made me think back to the times I’ve experienced personal growth in my life. I thought of people who helped shape me into who I am, and what events affected me in different ways.
You may feel like you’re watching people you knew in high school, or maybe even yourself. This play is very real, and it will make you laugh as well as cry. Tickets are going fast, so don’t miss out!
The Wolves runs through April 29 at The Jungle Theater. Click here to purchase tickets.
March 31-April 29
The Jungle Theater