Approaching the Powerhouse Play that is THE WOLVES

by Katy Smith ’23

When I was first cast in The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe, directed by Rich Perez, I was intimidated. The play was first produced in 2016, which, when speaking of plays, is very, very recent. This meant a few things: 1.) The play was written with an utmost contemporary take on contemporary speech patterns, 2.) The play has been in the semi-recent consciousness of theatre people and not in the broader consciousness at all, and 3.) I would be given the opportunity to play with a script that has only been done a small number of times. But, don’t all these things sound fun? How could I have been so intimidated?

With an all-woman cast and a truly phenomenal script, I was excited to sink my teeth into this production. My character, #13, is a lot like myself and I adore her as a character, let alone getting to play her. My castmates are wonderfully talented women who each bring their own strengths and experiences to the table, which makes for exciting rehearsals. Still, why was I so nervous?

Frankly, a Shakespeare piece is easier to memorize than a contemporary one. Iambic pentameter takes time to ensure that each line is entirely unique from the ones around it. Contemporary, on the other hand, writes like we speak. It repeats phrases, talks over other people, and says “Dude, what?”, “Uh what?”, “Wait what?”, and the like about a million times in a million different ways (which might be a small exaggeration).

Not only that, but The Wolves is a piece of theatre that is working with a lot of serious topics and themes. A few mentioned on our promotional posters are: death, strong language, and mental health struggles. This only really scratches the surface of the hard topics we as actors have to approach in a very vulnerable and honest way. It’s not easy, but it’s certainly not ungratifying work.

And that’s the other side of the rainbow that is working on The Wolves. Even though I was anxious, the process thus far has been really gratifying and empowering. Some of the cast and I recently went to support a Hope women’s soccer game and it was a wonderful experience. I think the broader culture loves to pit the arts against athletics, so I’ll admit going into this production I did not understand why someone would want to play soccer (other than their mom making them “get out of the house”).

If you haven’t been to one of our women’s soccer games, I seriously recommend it, especially before it gets too cold! Those women are fearless, fierce, and so good at their craft. In a way, it was like watching a different kind of artist at work. Sitting there on the bleachers, sun on my back and cheer in my mouth, I had no stress. I wasn’t worried about the show or my homework; I wasn’t thinking about all the stuff I had to get done that weekend. I was just enjoying the show… Or should I say, the game?

Beyond the extracurricular activities The Wolves has provided me with, I’ve learned a lot about leadership and hard work as an artist. Since our tech week begins this weekend, I do still feel like a lot of the hard work is ahead of me, but boy, am I ready for it! There is something so special about getting to explore a world largely untouched by myself paralleled with the point of view I had for the full six years of my adolescence. 

It has been a huge honor to get to work on a piece that elevates the voices of teenage girls so much, and in such a true and honest way to how they are in real life. As a feminist (and a former teenage girl!!), nothing angered me more than the way teenage girls are hated on for the things they like. Think: The Twilight craze, the One Direction fangirl era, Beliebers, and so much more. In this play, they truly shine through all the beauty and ugliness of being a teenager and I adore it. After all, it’s not everyday that you get to play a character so similar to your past self!

Not only that, but it has been an even bigger honor to work with such a loving, compassionate, and kind cast. To Abigail Doonan (’24), Alegría Guzmán (’25), Sara Verduzco (’25), Lisbeth Franzon (’22), Tia Hockenhull (’23), Isabelle Blaney (’25), Danai Mandebvu (’25), and Selena Capman (’24): You all are the best! Acting with such a strong group of women is unlike any theatre experience I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to open this amazing show with you all in just one weeks (eek)!

All that said, we open on October 8th at 7:30 in DeWitt Student and Cultural Center’s main theatre. The show runs through 9-10 and 13-15, all at 7:30 except for the 10th at 2:00. This show deserves a huge audience for the message alone, but we have a few tricks up our sleeves. In the words of our team captain #25, played by Mandebvu (’25), “We’re ready to play!”

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