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The Wolves

a Comedy/Drama
by Sarah DeLappe

COMPANY : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
ID# 5433

SHOWING : January 25, 2019 - March 03, 2019



Left quad. Right quad. Lunge. A talented indoor soccer team warms up throughout the season. From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, nine young women navigate big questions and wage tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of female warriors. You’re a fly-on-the-goal as the Wolves overcome obstacles on and off the field in this fierce and funny slice of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Director Heidi Cline
Soccer Mom Megan Cramer
#13 Shelby Folks
#14 Shannon McCarren
#11 Michelle Pokopac
#25 Jasmine Thomas
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Soccer Pitch
by playgoer
Sunday, January 27, 2019
First, the set. Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay have placed an Astroturf rectangle in the playing space that pitches up into a ramp at the far side. Audience seating is on three sides of the rectangle, with plexiglass barriers in front of the audience sections and advertising signs behind. Tables are tucked in up left to contain the belongings of players practicing on the field. Other than that, there’s just the white and blue padded gymnasium wall in back and three overhead lights hanging down. It all represents an indoor soccer field.

The scenes show us pre-show stretches and exercises across several weeks. Lighting, designed by Mary Parker, uses the three overhead lights and general lighting for most scenes, getting a bit more atmospheric as the play deepens over its 1.75 hour running time. Cole Spivia’s costume design consists of the numbered uniforms of the players, along with some outdoor winter garments. (This is a soccer league playing indoors in winter.) MC Park’s props all relate to the soccer team -- backpacks, soccer balls, orange slices. It’s all very realistic in looks except for a supposed "buzz cut" haircut that is actually just a short wig.

Amy L. Levin’s sound design covers the scene changes and accompanies some of the action. Sarah Stoffle is the soccer choreographer, and the movements she has designed accompany almost all of the dialogue. The girls (high school juniors) are almost always stretching or running or practicing skills in unison. It makes for very kinetic blocking.

It’s also a little confusing to start. Small clumps of girls are carrying on conversations, and we hear snippets of each. The main thread seems to be a recent news story about an aged Cambodian Khmer Rouge official being brought to justice. The girls don’t all go to the same school, and while the clumps are generally of longer-term friends, there’s a lot of interplay.

We have the captain, #25 (Jasmine Thomas), who embodies the leadership qualities of her coach father. We have wisecracker #13 (Shelby Folks), taciturn goalie #00 (Katie Causey), and skinny devout Christian #2 (Anna Williford). There’s slightly dimwitted #8 (Ebony Jerry), contrasted with sweetly know-it-all #11 (Michelle Pokopac). Then there’s foul-mouthed, sexually active #7 (Rebeca Robles) and her slightly ethnic sidekick, #14 (Shannon McCarren). Rounding out the team is a newcomer, #46 (Erika Miranda), who is initially ignored by the other girls, but eventually makes her way into their hearts.

There’s also one adult in the cast, Megan Cramer, appearing in the final scene. She plays the mother of one of the girls. The last two scenes let us know something saddening has occurred, but it isn’t until just before the entrance of the mother that we realize who it has happened to. The details of what has happened are left slightly fuzzy. It suffices that the incident brings them closer together as they huddle up to chant the name of their soccer team, the Wolves.

Heidi Cline McKerley deserves a lot of credit for whipping the cast into shape. This is a physically demanding show for the girls, with most dialogue accompanied by physical action. That it’s pulled off so well can’t be due entirely to the individual talents of the actresses (talented though they are), most of whom are alumnae of apprentice/intern programs at local theatres. The teamwork of sports is mirrored in the teamwork of the acting ensemble, and Ms. McKerley has done a splendid job of making this challenging play come to life before our eyes. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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