Pacific University Theatre Department, in conjunction with the Pacific Athletic Department, presents the spring play, The Wolves. In playwright Sarah DeLappe’s masterful peek at the human psyche through the lens of the lives and interactions of teenage girls on a high school soccer team, the complexities and vast variety of social interaction are out on display. During the four scenes of the play, the athletes, who are only known to the audience by their jersey numbers, navigate an emotionally-charged grapple with such issues as acceptance, self-image, coping, friendship, and loss. Above all, the play tackles the benefits and difficulties of coming together with others, which director Jacob Coleman points out is consistent with both theatrical performance and sports.
“The play paints a picture of human beings trying to be their best selves together and how beautiful that is,” said Coleman. “But it’s also hard and petty and complicated. That’s what, to me, felt like a very real portrait of what that’s like, but ultimately comes out on the side of it being something to be celebrated.”
The scenes illustrating this overarching theme of coming together and pulling apart seem to constrict and expand as energy and dynamics fluctuate between members of the team. Cacophonic, overlapping dialogue also contributes to the tension between characters representative of the difficulties of working together. However, the play has a lighthearted side brimming with several raw yet comical moments.
“I was originally really drawn to the authenticity of it,” said senior Emily Smith. “I also like the authenticity of it. It feels like I’m paying tribute to my high school self and finding ways to tell her that I love her.”
The dizzying pace and hilarity of the dynamics of the play culminate in an intense portrayal of the social hierarchy and architecture in a tight-knit group. Some actors found this experience cathartic, feeling they could connect with their younger selves as they portray seniors in high school. The cast, including junior Abby Weinman, find creative ways to connect with their character in an honest, sometimes uncomfortable way which, in turn, underscores the ways in which involvement in a team or partnership may be uncomfortable.
“It is fun to play my character in a way in which she is somewhat unaware of the flaws she has,” said Weinman. “I like playing around with the lack of awareness of the things her character does that older versions herself would look back and cringe at.”
The Wolves premieres on Friday, March 11 at 7:30 P.M. in the Stoller Center Fieldhouse. The show also runs on March 12, 13, and 14. The shows on Friday or Monday will begin at 7:30 P.M. and Sunday at 4:30 P.M.You can purchase tickets at this link. — Isabelle Williams