Left quad. Right quad. Lunge. A girls’ indoor soccer team warms up. From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, the team navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigour of a pack of adolescent warriors. A delightful meditation on society, sex and soccer, this Pulitzer Prize finalist is a portrait of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for nine American girls who just want to score some goals. Content warning: The Wolves and Fatherland contain adult themes, sexual references and coarse language.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY Edith Cowan University acknowledges and respects its continuing association with the Noongar people, the traditional custodians of the land upon which its campuses stand
Review of THE WOLVES
This play is a piece of art that asks questions about gender, sexuality, racism, politics and grief. The play features five segmented pre-game soccer practises that star a tight knit group of soccer players as they grapple with different events in the world and their lives.
The all female cast of the Wolves and the candid crude language one would expect from a competitive athletic team gives the play a level of authenticity and edge that makes the dynamic team feel really believable. I would say it is a honest and sympathetic study of what it feels like to be an adolescent girl living and moving in a pack.
The wolves offer a truly beautiful exploration of how we usually have our first brush with mortality in our adolescent years. Some of us may never have been to a funeral while others unfortunately have death thrust directly into their lives in a way that one’s peers will never understand. This situation arrives without deserving sometimes, and one is left with no tools to cope.
Wolves is not just about girls but about girls and their mothers and how the adult world intersects with that of teenagers.
The production stars an exceptional ensemble of performers with the right balance of physicality, subtle nuance and quirky humour. Although the team do not have names just numbers. yet each provides a full and sympathetic character portrayal despite the dispersion of dialogue among the actors.
Of course teenagers can be very sensitive but the issues dealt with here go far deeper such as social anxiety disorder, and rumours of an abortion. Part of what makes this play so successful is that we learn more about what the characters feel by what is left unsaid. For example eating disorders don’t get a mention but the quick devouring of fruit and through some expressions of concern we realise that number 2 suffers from an eating disorder.
The stage design of an empty green space (as the pitch is arresting) and with dramatic bursts of music and the sudden drops in darkness, the entire excitement of match preparation is well captured. The play is a remarkable piece of team work between actors and the director. It provides an excellent example of the exciting work emerging in contemporary American theatre, particularly those giving dramatic voice to seemingly quiet lives. This is definitely a now play reflecting our current adolescent attitudes and feelings.