Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Playwright Sarah DeLappe has created nine distinct characters with individual experiences and diverse possible futures who meld together as a unit when it's time to compete. Director Marti Lyons has guided her actors into a natural rhythm of physical and verbal interactions, avoiding any sense of "playing young" or inauthenticity.
Eight of the nine Wolves have worked together for years, and while they aren't all exactly friends away from the soccer field, they're highly communicative as they do their pre-game warmups. They have their individual quirks, such as: #7 (Katie Kleiger) is outwardly tough and confident in her abilities; #2 (Merissa Czyz) comes from a religious family and worries about the underprivileged; #25 (Chrissy Rose), the team captain, takes charge of practices because the (never-seen) coach has other things to do; and #00 (Gabby Beans), the goalie, doesn't say much and has stomach problems. Their conversation ranges widely from real-world concerns (the war crimes trial of a Khmer Rouge commander, the pending deportation of undocumented children to Mexico) to their families, other interests (such as Harry Potter and "Lord of the Rings"), and the realities of sex. When #46 (Jane Bernhard) joins the team, the others aren't sure what to make of her.
The cast members worked with movement coach Stephanie Paul and soccer consultant Manya J Makoski to polish their athletic skills. While the audience never sees the Wolves in a game, the actors are dead-on as they do exercises, stretches, sprints, and practice passing the ball. The standouts are Kleiger, Bernhard, and Maryn Shaw as Kleiger's off-field friend.