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Sarah Delappe's THE WOLVES Kicks Off Season 12 At Portland Playhouse

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 vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves is a portrait of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for nine American girls who just want to score some goals.

"Fearless is how I experience Sarah DeLappe's play The Wolves," says Artistic Director Brian Weaver about the show that opens Portland Playhouse's 12th Season.

"It's fearlessly physical. The actors in this play started preparing months ago to be in physical shape to bring this demanding story to life. Ms. DeLappe's rapid fire and overlapping dialogue happens while the characters are completing a series of exacting, pre-game warm-up drills. It is not for the faint of heart. It's fearlessly emotional. They are brave in the way that only 16 and 17 year olds can be brave. Fighting to keep their cool while navigating questions of "Who am I?" "Why am I here?" and what is my role in this social community? In the end, they are tested, and witnessing how they respond is the heart of this moving and surprising play."

"In this play, DeLappe has found a way to write soccer on the page," says director Jessica Wallenfels. "Her 90 minutes, like indoor soccer, moves at a dizzying pace. Complicated passing, growing progressions, and a constantly shifting network of relationships is reflected through the DNA of the scene work. The words are expressive on the page, like poetry. Through line breaks, capitalization, and spacing, she has notated the music of the teenaged girls' speech-games with a keen ear for realism.

"Yet overlaying this realism, the playwright places a specific choreography which asks the actors to use all parts of their brains at once. While realism, for me, can be kind of like wearing an uncomfortable shirt, I trust that DeLappe also set out to write a play where we would feel the wind and the breath of these women's bodies and in moments, their very sweat in the air. The play wants us to look at these characters' bodies - no doubt. But it insists that we deal with these females as athletes. As such, it asks us to look at how they bring their bodies to adversity, and to see the power and beauty which comes from that. Feeling the kinetic energy they generate will touch our audience in a way that is both sexy with life force, and refreshingly desexualized. In my mind, DeLappe and other playmakers are reaching to use bodies in the theater to touch people in a way they can't get from a screen."

Wallenfels also choreographs the play with an assist by Kailey Rhodes. Rhodes, brings on-the-field soccer experience to both the choreography of the team and to her character in the role of #46, joining teammates Fiona Palazzi, Barbie Wu, Andrea Vernae, Quinlan Fitzgerald, Alyssa Longoria and three current Portland Playhouse Apprentice Company members Ash Heffernan, Delaney Barbour, and Lauren Vander Aarde plus Maureen Porter in the role of "Soccer Mom.


The Wolves kicks off Season 12 at Portland Playhouse. Patrons will notice a few changes this year, including an increased commitment to sustainability. All concession items will now be served in reusable containers, cloth hand towels replace paper in the restrooms and a limited edition show poster will replace the 8 page playbills. Patrons will be encouraged to take public transportation, bike, or bring their own reusable containers to receive discounts on concessions items.

These changes, in addition to thoughtful design with the environment in mind by Sera Architects during the Playhouse's recent renovation, have earned Portland Playhouse a gold level designation in the City of Portland's Sustainability at Work program.

PORTLAND PLAYHOUSE, now in its twelfth season of making theatre for diverse audiences in Portland, is a space for people of all backgrounds to come together to celebrate the complexity of our shared human condition. Portland Playhouse is dedicated to producing quality, intimate, performances in which the interaction between artists and audience is paramount. We envision a world awakened by the wonder of theatre.

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