The Lincoln Center production of The Wolves has its free streaming end today (spoilers at end but not at beginning)
Last Edit: mikem 03:01 pm EDT 08/15/21
Posted by: mikem 02:48 pm EDT 08/15/21

I finally saw the Lincoln Center production of The Wolves, which they released for streaming, but that ends today at midnight. The structure of the piece was very interesting to me. It's a single set, and extremely little meaningful action. Everything we learn is through the dialogue, but until the last segment, there is only one brief portion where there are only two people on stage talking. Almost all of the dialogue is a free form banter among the nine players on the team, where different characters come in and out of the conversation, and because there are eight people listening in, very little of what is said is that personal in nature. This could be confusing and not very illuminating, but the playwright (Sarah DeLappe), director (Lila Neugebauer), and the cast have created a world where each of the nine players becomes an individual pretty quickly. The directing and acting are really outstanding.

The play is only 90 minutes and well worth a view through the link.

(Extremely minor spoiler below)

When the bag of orange slices was tossed onto the field towards the beginning, it came open and the slices scattered on the stage. For those who saw the show live, did that typically happen? I'm guessing not, because the actors then picked up the slices and put them in their mouths, which didn't seem too sanitary to do night after night. And the juice probably would be a mess to clean up. But the actors didn't miss a beat when it happened, so maybe it was planned that way.

Also, the production was filmed in 2017, so pre-COVID, but it was jarring to hear the whole, "Do you have a cold? / You sound sick. / Don't make me sick! / Are you sure you're not sick?" portion.

(bigger spoilers below)

My main criticism of the show is that I kind of wish the Big Event at the end didn't happen. I guess DeLappe didn't know how to end the piece, but it makes the last segment very different from the rest of the piece and it doesn't feel as interesting. The last segment takes up about 25 minutes of the run time, so it's around 30% of the show, although it feels like less when watching. I also don't feel that the Big Event added much to what we already learned about the characters from the rest of the show. And I didn't love the mother character, who brought the show too close to sentimentality IMO.

One interesting thing that happened with filming of the last segment is that, since the actors aren't moving around as much as earlier, there seemed to be more close-ups. The lighting also seemed a bit harsher, although that could be because of the close-ups. But I found it interesting that this was never intended to be viewed publicly, but the filming took on a different tone in that segment to complement the change in tone within the play.

Link https://www.lct.org/shows/private-reels/

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