Opening night of “The Wolves,” produced by SUNY New Paltz Theatre, was on Thursday Sept. 30 at 8:00 p.m. in McKenna Theatre. “The Wolves” portrays a teenage girls soccer team through conversations the girls have as they stretch. “The Wolves” contains sensitive subject matter and graphic language that may be problematic for some audience members.
“The Wolves,” directed by Catherine Doherty, highlighted the very intense struggles teenagers face when forming their identity in their environment. Some examples include anxiety, eating disorders and abortions. The very real personalities and conflicts each unnamed character has combined with the fantastic acting of each actress left audience members laughing and heartbroken along with the characters.
“I wanted to see a portrait of teenage girls as human beings– as complicated, nuanced, very idiosyncratic people who weren’t just girlfriends or sex objects or manic pixie dream girls but who were athletes and daughters and students and scholars and people who were trying actively to figure out who they were in this changing world around them,” playwright Sarah DeLappe wrote on the New Paltz Theatre’s website.
The cast consisted of eight players and one soccer mom: Kiana Duggan-Haas, Gina Lardi, Molly Walsh, Lindsay Ork, Christine Tomer, Amber Rose, Katie Gudzik, Courtney Williams and Angelina Bell played girls with the jersey numbers of 11, 25, 13, 46, 2, 7, 14, 8 and 00, respectively. Soccer Mom was played by Autumn Kimble.
When asked after the show on Sunday Oct. 3, the cast agreed that the teenage girl characters were the most realistic portrayals of teeanagers they had ever seen.
“I think it’s the most accurate media that I’ve seen,” Lardi said. “It really is similar to adulthood where you’re starting to learn about intense topics, but at the same time the most important thing in your life right now is what boy is cute or what class is super hard.”
A large part of the show consisted of the girls talking about their everyday lives – how they were celebrating their birthday, what issues in the world they cared about and whether they were on their periods or not. The show contained heavy profanity and touched on many explicit topics, making it all the more realistic.
Although the show was centered around soccer, none of the cast had ever been on a team themselves. The production turned to the New Paltz Women’s soccer team for help learning the basics of the sport to make their show more dynamic. The program thanked Cailin Ruoti, Hannah Pugliese, Sophia DeLorenzo and Lisette Palomo for being the “soccer consultants” for the production.
“What I really love about this show is the aspect of the women’s community and getting along with everyone,” Ork said. “We all came in not really knowing how to play soccer, so tackling that together I feel like helped us really bond as a cast.”
Some players only appeared on stage with the rest of the team while others had solo performances to showcase their characters’ struggles.
The players went through typical dramas of being a teenage girl, such as not being invited to a birthday party or not getting the starting role on the soccer field. But the light conversations were intermingled with heavier topics, making for some intense scenes. Notably, the ending scene with the soccer mom left many with goosebumps and a deep sorrow in the pit of their stomachs – but it also left them with hope for the players and a feeling of unity and compassion for one another.
“A great juxtaposition in the script is how these girls are both so compassionate and they care about each other so much, but are total assholes to each other,” said Rose. “The fact that it brings your competitors to work is also really suitable for the way high school feels – everything feels like I need to win, I need to be the best at this thing, but they care about each other and want to help each other so much… I think that’s a really accurate representation of what teenage girls are like.”
“The Wolves” will run on Thursday Oct. 14, Friday Oct. 15, Saturday Oct. 16 and Sunday Oct. 17 at 8p.m. for all three of the remaining performances. Tickets are available for purchase on the SUNY New Paltz website for theatre arts. There are no will-call or in-person theatre sales available for this play.