BWW Review: THE WOLVES at Kailua Onstage Arts
A new community theatre gracing the east side of Oahu, Kailua Onstage Arts makes its debut with The Wolves, a 2017 Pulitzer finalist for Drama. The play follows the story of teenage girls, all part of a volatile soccer team, who basically want to win a game and become recognized, not only by college scouts, but each other as well. Themes of loss, liberty, puberty, and sisterhood are all explored, creating a stunning portrait of adolescents all in hopes of understanding themselves and each other, while simultaneously attempting to forge their own paths and futures.
Creatively performed on a mere set of soccer turf with the audience on chairs surrounding them, this type of arrangement creates a more intimate viewing experience. This works in the show's favor, for the audience is able to both hear and see every nuance, whether the girls' facial expressions, or even mutters under a breath. The simplicity of this viewing experience leads to such a profound and impactful take-away from the show, as seen through the stalwart performances of its all-female cast. Comprised of nine teenagers and a cameo by local actress Lisa Barnes, the cast truly demonstrates an understanding of the intensely sensitive themes of the show. Led by soccer team leader #25 played by Kira Stone, fresh off her Diamond Theatre Newsies success, her ability to maintain the required stamina and necessary pacing goes unparalleled. It is clear that her character, while maintaining to serve as a role model and hold the team together, struggles to compartmentalize her own personal issues. Other issues baragging these teenagers include the notions of puberty, sex, abortion, depression, isolation, and bulimia. It is quite difficult to pinpoint other standout performances, for all of the actresses excel in their parts. However, namely, local rising performer and State Shakespeare Competition winner Ruby O'Malley stuns with a very quiet, understated, nuanced performance, who is especially efficacious in a wordless solo scene of warm ups and an eventual and literal crying out for help. Additionally, Chelsea Cox and Camille Perry, through their characters, both bring comedic relief to appease moments of darkness and intensity, while Maggie Odom, whose character appears outwardly obnoxious, brings a sense of heart to the show. All of the young actresses truly shine, demonstrating such remarkable talent of the local community.
Personally, as an adult male entering a show about teenage girls, not knowing much about their psychology, by the end of the show, I was truly stunned and blown away by how insightful and eye-opening the themes of the show are made clear. I would now classify this show as one of my favorite plays, undoubtedly deserving to be a finalist for that coveted Pulitzer prize. Truly, it is an exceptional show.
Due to popular demand, the show has been held over for one more weekend--September 14-16--so don't delay in getting your tickets!