BWW Review: A Powerful GOAL! From ACT's THE WOLVES

BWW Review: A Powerful GOAL! From ACT's THE WOLVES
The cast of The Wolves at ACT.
Photo credit: Chris Bennion

Slice of life plays can be difficult, at least I've always found them so. They tend toward story, upon story, upon story, with little through line or resolution as life goes on. Such could be the case with Sarah DeLappe's "The Wolves" currently at ACT were it not for the fact that it's chock full of crackling dialog and high-intensity performances. And so, any perceived drawbacks I may have from this slice of life play don't seem to matter.

Now I'm not a high school aged girl, I've never been a high school aged girl, but what we have, I suppose, is a raw and seething look at a particular subset of the high school aged girl, that of these girls on an indoor soccer team, The Wolves. They're a kick-ass team whom we really only ever get to know by their numbers, played with grit and heart by Cheyenne Barton, Emma Bjornson, Madilyn Cooper, Meme Garcia, Rachel Guyer-Mafune, Emilie Hanson, Alyssa Norling, Zoe Tziotis Shields, and Martha Kathryn Smith. The girls play their hearts out night after night, game after game all the while dealing with things such as interpersonal rivalries, boys, college scouts, injuries, pregnancy scares, and social awkwardness just to name a few. But the big question on all their minds is, will they make it to the finals?

DeLappe's dialog often overlaps so you're not sure which conversation you should be listening to and if you've ever been in a room with teenage girls you know it's right on the money. And that's the beauty of it. You can drift in and out of each conversation as they weave in and out and through each other until finally they all come together on one topic and never miss a moment. Plus, the characters she's created feel so incredibly real and honest you forget you're watching a play. Much of that credit must go to director Sheila Daniels who's instilled a wonderful sense of teamwork amongst the cast. And LB Morse's fantastic set literally makes for a perfect playground.

I would say the ensemble is as tight as this team, but the team has some issues and this ensemble certainly does not as they are all there for each other 100%. Each and every one is completely committed to their very individual characters making the show an even richer story. It's hard to call any of them out but I did have some personal stand outs. Garcia never ceases to impress with her presence and absolute commitment to any role. Norling as the homeschooled outsider showed off a stunning portrayal of social awkwardness without going for the joke of it. And Guyer-Mafune, another local favorite of mine, repeatedly brought the laughs with her manic pixie like player. And I must mention Christine Marie Brown who only appears at the end for one scene but it's one heartbreakingly intrusive scene as a doting soccer mom.

I really didn't know what to expect from this and I really didn't expect for it to hit me as hard as it did (yeah, there were a few tears). And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give ACT's production of "The Wolves" a YAY and a GOAL! They certainly made it to finals in my league.

"The Wolves" performs at ACT through May 13th. For tickets or information contact the ACT box office at 206-292-7676 or visit them online at www.acttheatre.org.

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From This Author Jay Irwin

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