The Wolves, a play by Sarah DeLappe and directed by Shana Gold, opened on March 1 at TheatreSquared. The Wolves is the team name of a club girl’s soccer team and depicts the individual trials that each of the members experiences at the age of 17. The setup of the play is unconventional in that it is performed on a traverse stage with audience members sitting on two opposing sides, viewing the play between them.
Each scene takes place on an indoor soccer field in the winter, and over the course of the play, the audience gets to watch how each week, the players change and bond in different ways. Before the game, the girls stretch out in a circle formation with four players on each side and the team captain in the middle. Each girl has a number on her jersey that she is referred to by, and throughout the play, only one of the girls’ names is mentioned.
While stretching in the circle, the girls chatter amongst themselves, speaking over each other about impactful world events, frivolous gossip, high school profanity, and the complexities of feminine products. The conversations range from being sad to hateful to laugh-out-loud funny. Over the course of the 90-minute performance, the girls endure wins and losses both on and off the field that bring the team closer together.
Each player had a unique personality that set them apart from the other girls on the team. No. 00, the goalie, suffered from social anxiety disorder and had a “4.9 GPA, edits a newspaper, and plays the saxophone for a youth orchestra.” No. 7, the striker, had a big and aggressive personality that simultaneously pushed people away and pulled the team together. No. 25, the team captain, served as a unifying and guiding force that steered the conversation and kept the group moving literally and metaphorically.
Alex Dauphin, the actor that played No. 00, said that she thought DeLappe accurately captured the tempo of conversation between teenage girls.
“You cannot catch every part of every conversation and you are not supposed to,” Dauphin said. “The cool thing is, you can come back to this play over and over. Depending on where you sit and what conversations you follow, you will pick up new parts of the story every time.”
An interesting component of the play is the level to which each character is identified by the team. The girls are referred to by their jersey number and one of the girls’ mom’s is simply referred to as “Soccer Mom.” Dauphin said she played soccer competitively throughout high school and confirmed that your number really does become your name.
“Your number really does become your identity,” Dauphin said. “The opposing team will shout out ‘Watch out for #4,’ because they don’t always know your name, so I think it was a smart way to heighten the importance of the team for all the characters.”
The Wolves was a moving play that touched on a number of different issues that are applicable to everyone, not just teenage girls. The team experiences loss, grief, trials of friendship, anxiety for the future, and other pressures that all people deal with whether it’s on the field, in school, in their career, or in their family life.
The Wolves will be at TheatreSquared through March 24. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. Ticket and show information can be found at theatre2.org.