BWW Review: An Unapologetically Raw THE WOLVES at NextStop Theatre
Pop culture often depicts teenage girls as boy-crazed. Many television shows, films or even plays, have adult women playing teenage girls. NextStop Theatre's The Wolves, directed by Kathyrn Chase Bryer, doesn't fall into this pop culture trap as the actresses who portray the Wolves players are actually teenage girls. The Wolves, written by Sarah DeLappe, focuses on a group of high school girls who play on an indoor soccer team. As the dedicated soccer players go through their warm ups, small conservations give fleeting glimpses into their lives and beliefs. NextStop Theatre's The Wolves is raw as it unapologetically forgoes the stereotypes of teenage girls and allows the girls to define who they are.
A team is only as strong as the players. NextStop Theatre's production features an energetic young cast: Caroline Coleman (#25), Dominique Kalunga (#00), Vivian Lemons (#46), Jordan Hundley (#07), Teryn Cuozzo (#14), Jordan James (#11), Makayla Collins (#13), Maya Tischler (#02), and Rachel Lipetz (#08). For many of these young actresses, this is their first professional production and many have only acted in school productions. They are able to master their characters well by making them memorable and stand out as individuals even though the characters they play are part of a team. The cast's only adult actress is featured in only one scene. Although she is only onstage briefly, Vanessa Lock Gelinas' performance as a grief-stricken Soccer Mom is sad to watch as she tries to cope with seeing the Wolves for the first time after a tragic event.
The warm ups create an unique structure to the play. During the warm ups, there are many deep conversations about topics such as menstruation, abortion, social anxiety disorder, immigration, genocide, feminism, and sexuality. The opening scene introducing the Wolves involves the girls all talking about different topics at the same time. The structure of these conversations is hard to follow at first, but slowly as the play progresses one becomes accustomed to the pacing. There are rarely any moments without bursts of loud conversation. The two most powerful moments occur without dialogue. There is One Dream-like scene in which the goalie (#00), played by Dominique Kalunga, is alone doing drills and exercises on the soccer field. This scene is hard to watch as Kalunga channels her character's frustrations and anxiety into her movements. The second most powerful scene is the team doing their warm ups silently after a tragic event. It is heart wrenching to watch as it is a large contrast to the other warm up scenes in which the girls are more animated.
The set, designed by Jonathan Dahm Robertson, is a well thought out abstraction of an indoor soccer field. The astro turf is slanted and defined sharp white lines. A gray beam hangs parallel over the field. This simplified abstraction makes use of the small stage space and provides a sense of depth.
With a young energetic cast and smart set design, NextStop Theatre's production of The Wolves is a clearly a team worth cheering for.???????
Running Time: 90 minutes with no intermission
Photo caption and credit: Cast of "The Wolves" at NextStop Theatre Company. Photo by Lock and Company.
The Wolves plays NextStop Theatre- located at 269 Sunset Park Drive in Herndon, VA
- through February 24, 2019. For tickets, purchase them online.???????