During my trip to New York I didn’t only see Fun Home, but I also was lucky enough to see a new Off Broadway play called The Wolves, playing at the Duke on 42nd until September 24th. I went with my friend Christina and we were lucky enough to get $15 front row seats due to the show still (just) being in previews!
The show is part of the Playwrights Realm’s 10th anniversary season which features plays from three female playwrights. It features 10 incredibly talented and wonderful women in 10 especially difficult yet honest and raw roles, directed by Lila Neugebauer.
We heard about the show through Lauren Patten, previously a Medium Alison and Joan understudy in Fun Home, as she was in it. We arrived at the theatre which, from the outside, didn’t feel very off broadway at all as it was just round the corner from Times Square and over the road from Aladdin. However, when we got in the theatre we realised just how small it was. The Duke is a small black box theatre with adaptable seating for each show, and for The Wolves, there were seats either side of the stage. This meant that Christina and I were essentially on the stage, thus feeling that we were really part of the action.
As we took our seats we really had no clue what the show was about other than the setting of an all girls soccer (or as we call it in England, football) team. As it started we realised that the show was barely about the actual game of soccer and more about the relationships of the team members, how they interacted with each other, and the sometimes deep or more silly conversations they had. Despite never being in a sports team, I felt as though I could recognise and relate to the characters as I attended an all girls school. The way the characters spoke to each other felt really true and like something I could have easily come across whilst at school, thanks do DeLappe’s wonderful writing.
During the play I became more attached to all the characters, and unusually there wasn’t a single one I didn’t like. Each and every character played such a vital role in the story and without them it would have been incomplete. One character who stood out for me was Tedra Millan’s #46, she played the role so well making me feel happy or upset for her at the appropriate times, yet still filling each word and action with emotion and precision. As a new member of the team she is joked about by some of the other characters, but her passion and strength means that they don’t see whether she’s being hurt by their words or not. Another character I really enjoyed the portrayal of was Lizzy Jutila’s #00. With so few words throughout the show, the actions made were even more important than usual and Lizzy got across so much about the character with just small movements and facial expressions. I couldn’t write this without mentioning Lauren Patten’s performance as #25. Whilst I was gutted I wouldn’t get to see her in Fun Home, I felt just as lucky getting to see her perform in The Wolves. She played her character with such a raw and genuine tone, full of honesty and not up for anyone’s messing around.
You could see the dedication, love, hard work, and time each cast member had put in to their individual character and how they reacted to the other characters around them. The small setting and stage entrances and exits on either side of the audience, along with the fantastic performances, made it one of the most honest, intimate, and enjoyable plays I’ve ever seen. I would be more than happy to see it again and again but unfortunately I am a 7 hour flight away, and all the tickets have sold out. I can’t wait to see what is in store for not only The Wolves, but also the incredibly talented cast and creative team behind it!