The room turns dark and the audience finds itself settled in ambience. Staring at a neon green, chalk-strewn field of plastic grass, there is a slight chill and dampness in the air. Then, in a moment, the lights flare to life and the stage is lit. Nine female soccer players run out and form a circle. Playful banter ensues. Topics of international politics, racism and sexuality are thrown out. On the front of their jerseys is one word: wolves.
This week, the Ohio University Theater Division will present a production of the play The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe. The production was a finalist for a 2017 Pulitzer Prize, and tells a narrative about a group of teenage girls participating in indoor soccer during the off-season and the trials of young adulthood.
The Wolves is an original play as it targets a viewpoint not often seen in drama — that of a teenage girl. Tucked in the narrative of a female indoor soccer team, it points out many questions and problems young women face, often in a direct manner befitting the subject material.
Topics such as sexuality, social anxiety, eating disorders, pregnancy and depression are discussed during sessions of the team stretching before games as they banter with each other. They are discussions you usually don’t hear in drama. Each are relevant to today’s social problems.
“It's a show written from a woman's perspective about women, rather than a guy trying to write about women,” said Hannah McCauley, a sophomore studying acting and the actress playing character #00.
McCauley’s character not often seen in productions: a girl with social anxiety disorder. Having trouble communicating verbally throughout the play, instead, she often communicates through body language. This element culminated a very strong performance, adding a layer of realism to the production and humanization to the characters.
Chloe Grogean, a senior studying acting, plays the role of #46, an interesting character who has traveled around the world due to her mother’s job as a travel writer. She has trouble communicating with the other cast members at first, but because of this, they often explain their problems to her. She is used as a blank slate to explain the issues the teenage girls face.
“High school-age women are usually daughters or girlfriends, but here, they are the main story,” said director David Haugen, an associate professor of performance.
That rings true through most of the play. The Wolves is a very realistic portrayal of teenage life. It tackles topics that many might be uncomfortable with. The characters are fleshed out and feel like real people, something that is not often seen in female portrayals in movies or television.
“We need to continue to create more new works, more plays and TV shows talking about the female experience, so young women have something more to look up to, not as shallow or materialistic as what we usually see,” Grogean said. “Our role models need to be more relatable.”