Regional Reviews: Las Vegas
Also see Mary's review of Company
The "Wolves" are an indoor soccer team made up of girls who are fiercely dedicated to their sport and to their teammates. The play's structure follows their winter season, from one game to the next, as they look ahead to the spring showcase where they will be evaluated by NCAA scouts.
We eavesdrop on their pre-game workouts, where the physical drills are punctuated by lively exchanges on topics ranging from the Khmer Rouge to menstruation and back again. The result is a kind of choreography that is both physical and verbal. As in real life, the conversations overlap at times, and you have to choose which ones to listen to. Then DeLappe artfully brings the threads back together again. (Although you'll be tempted to make a return visit to catch any snippets that you missed.)
Along the way, the playerswhom we know only by their jersey numbersface the challenges of friendship and betrayal, inner demons, social and religious differences, and personal tragedy. None of this feels formulaic; it's simply a glimpse of modern girls clawing their way to adulthood.
This is the essence of an ensemble production, and director St-Pierre has assembled an excellent cast and melded them into a team of their own. Some of the strongest work comes from Sabrina Cofield as #11, Anastasia Weiss as #2, Jasmine Kojouri as #46 (the new girl in town), and Valerie Carpenter Bernstein as a Soccer Mom. As befits the subject, the play moves at an energetic clip.
St-Pierre has cast the play with adult women rather than teens, and wisely so. It would be hard to find teenagers with the stage chops to play these roles with the same conviction, and if the actresses cannot completely transform themselves into 16-year-olds, they capture the essence of female adolescence. The casting choice also highlights one of DeLappe's subtler themes: In witnessing the bonding of a girls' soccer team, we are also seeing the foundation of political and social phenomena such as Emily's List and #MeToo. Title IX, with the resulting surge in women's collegiate sports, has produced a generation of women who won't back down.
The Wolves, through February 18, 2018, at the Art Square Theatre, 1025 South First St. #110, Las Vegas, NV. Performances Thursday-Saturday at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm. For tickets ($15-$25) and further information, go to www.cockroachtheatre.com.