Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

October 20, 2017

The Wolves

TheaterWorks, Hartford, CT
through November 10, 2017
by Jennifer Curran

Photo by Lanny Nagler
“The Wolves,” written by Sarah DeLappe, is as complex and honest as it is heart-breaking and hopeful. Having had a successful Broadway run in 2016, DeLappe’s first play has been produced in regional theaters across the country. “The Wolves” is a war story, told one soccer match at a time. The battlefield might be an indoor soccer field and the soldiers teenaged girls, but this is the very essence of fight to win. The ten-member cast of women, all un-named, marches and spars and sweats together. The ensemble work that stormed the stage at TheaterWorks was a rare and stunning dance of control and chaos.

A Pulitzer Prize Finalist and multiple award winning play, “The Wolves,” introduces and then lays bare the inner lives of these nine ferocious girls with all the gory, gutsy, and heartbreaking truth a writer can fit into 90 minutes. Here, the audience is more voyeur than active participant. As the girls fight to win, for control, for a place, for answers, we are watching them struggle to survive the world that they have inherited with the tools they’ve been given. Nobody said it would be a fair fight.

These girls are middle America, and they are living in the upper middle class suburban dream created by Boomers and later perfected by Generation X. They are exactly who the two generations hoped their daughters would be. Perhaps the moms didn’t realize that hopes can be interpreted as unfulfill-able demands by their daughters.

This is a play with a drumbeat heart that requires a master at the helm. With dialogue so dense, a lesser director would allow for unwelcome air between the rapid-fire dialogue. What a travesty that would be. Under Eric Ort’s direction, there is barely room for an extra atom of oxygen. The show hurtles by with almost zero moments of silence or stillness. Those moments, when they do happen, grab and shake and hold long after the curtain call.