There are different ways of getting acquainted with writers’ works, such as reading a book, watching a film, or attending a theatrical performance. Out of these three, the latter seems to have the greatest impact on the audience. A play is different from a book in that it presents characters and the plot in a special mood and light. At the same time, a play is dissimilar to a movie in that the former is always unique and cannot be reshot several times.
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There are many cinematographic works depicting sports players, but Sarah DeLappe’s “The Wolves” is probably the first play about soccer I have ever heard of or seen. The play has had a tremendous effect on me, and I would like to share my impressions of direction, acting, and design.
I must admit that the initial impressions I had as an audience member were two-sided. On the one hand, it seemed like something new, fresh, and unusual. On the other hand, I was afraid that I might get bored from seeing the same people in the same green-colored setting. However, my apprehensions were quickly resolved, and I became entirely involved in everything that was happening on the stage. Probably for the first ten or fifteen minutes, I needed to look at the numbers on the girls’ T-shirts to see who was who. However, it became unnecessary very soon because each of them was unique, and there was something special about every girl.
The play affected so much me due to several reasons. First of all, it revealed some of the most crucial issues that teenage girls experienced. The opening theme was the discussion of a murderer’s and girls’ opinions and thoughts on that. At the same time, the characters were not seen as females in the sexual sense of the word but, rather, they were viewed as individuals with their fears, apprehensions, thoughts, and dreams. Although there were some arguments and misunderstandings among the team members, they all pursued the same goal: winning their next game. The team spirit, which was the leitmotif throughout all the play, was one of the most impressive things in DeLappe’s production.
Other themes that were raised in the play included less interesting topics (such as menstrual cycles or hygienic pads), but they have discussed in such an open and sincere way that it was impossible to get distracted. The girls’ acting was so “alive” that it seemed that at some point, they would demand answers not from their team members but from the audience.
A highly interesting aspect of acting was the order of girls’ talking. Or, rather, the seeming absence of such order which made it difficult to understand the whole picture at the beginning. However, I realized that the simultaneous chatter of the characters was carefully and artfully conducted by the director as if she were the manager of an orchestra. Thus, I could quickly discern the voices and was able to both listen to and hear what they were saying. I think that the director’s role in gaining such an effect was rather important. The direction was unique and most likely required strenuous work to perform, but they definitely reached their goals.
The scenic design was rather simple, but it is not possible to say that it lacked anything. The indoor soccer field was the only setting, and it looked as if the field had no end. The emphasis was put on the green color, the field and uniforms being of different shades of it. There was even a scene in which girls mocked their rivals’ yellow uniforms, which could be interpreted as their love for the emerald color. Although no settings or costumes were changed between the scenes, it did not take away from the characters’ engaging play.
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Apart from the engaging acting, direction, and design, the choice of production is closely connected with today’s world since the play covers some of the most crucial topics. The discussion of the murderer is the reflection of the increased numbers of homicides and mass shootings. Girls’ interaction and the way they communicate represents the way people interact in society. The talk about the coach’s hangover implies the problem of substance abuse, the rates of which are growing dramatically.
I could not think of any historical facts to which the play could be related. However, the characters’ communication reminded me of Sparta, where the weakest members of the group were considered as burdens. Still, unlike in Sparta, “The Wolves” supported one another because they knew they were a single organism whose victory depended on each member.
Watching the production of Sarah DeLappe’s “The Wolves” was one of the experiences I would remember for a long time. Expressive dialogues and vivid movements, interwoven chants, and optimistic green color promising positive changes ― these and other aspects had a great effect on me. The playwright, the director, and actors did a great job showing acute aspects of teenage girls’ lives and encouraging the audience to pursue happiness and fight for their goals.