By Jason Mount
Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” along with a mix of other songs typically heard at sports games, echoed through the Yvonne Theater Feb. 27 to March 1 as people filed in. The mood was set for Rider’s production of “The Wolves” by Sarah DeLappe.
Green turf was set in the middle of the stage and continued to drape in the back of the set, between six work lights hanging from the ceiling. At the front of the stage were two blue benches, adorned with a variety of water bottles, sports bags and backpacks.
“The Wolves” revolved around a female soccer team and the personal relationships they have with one another and themselves. The plot was supported by the fact that there is no single “lead character” said senior acting major Taryn Grey, who played No. 7.
“I have definitely valued the importance of the ensemble experience,” said Grey. “There is no lead in this show, so it really helped us form a bond, knowing that not only were we all important to the plot, but that we all had each other’s backs in the process too.”
As the theater lights dimmed and the work lights switched on, the players entered the stage dressed in their soccer uniforms and began their warm-ups. This comprised almost every scene of the play.
Conversation flew amidst the team’s drills, about what was happening that weekend, their families and the other teammates when they were not around. The dialogue was natural, as if the topics the girls discussed were true to their lives and opinions. It truly felt as though the actors had embodied their characters and were living with them.
Junior acting major Kate DeLong also saw “The Wolves,” and also appreciated how fluid the lines were.
“I loved the authenticity of the acting,” DeLong said. “I loved the way the actors took strategic pauses between lines. It made the tension and dialogue more realistic.”
DeLong admired the staging of the production and felt the movements of the actors helped bring their roles to life.
“I really enjoyed the way the director staged the whole thing. It felt like I was looking into the real lives of these girls from an outsider’s view,” she said.
Grey agreed, and said that the feedback she got from her family and friends was positive about the characters of the show.
“Many people were thoroughly moved and impressed by the show,” Grey said. “Many commented on the complexity of the characters, in that even though they were all so different, no one loved or hated any of the characters, but that they were all likeable.”
Through the dialogue and movement, the actors were able to portray an expert blend of humor and drama, while keeping the performance grounded in reality, making it relatable to the people who saw it.
DeLong felt the relatable content of the show helped convey the themes of togetherness and individuality.
“I think ‘The Wolves’ was a nice break from some of the more dated plays we get at Rider,” DeLong said. “This play felt relevant to the world right now.”
In “The Wolves,” each character had some part of who they were that audience members could connect to, whether it be the stress of applying to college, pressure from parents, relationships or the death of a close friend.
The more serious moments helped connect the intricately woven stories of the team members to the audience members who watched them, expertly conveyed by the actresses who portrayed them. Without the dedicated performances of the actors, the show would have fallen flat; it is the energy from the girls that kept this play powered by conversation intriguing for outside viewers.
As the cast took their bows, the audience immediately rose from their seats to give a standing ovation. Applause thundered throughout the Yvonne, proving just how excellent of a production “The Wolves” was.
For DeLong, one of the biggest themes for she saw in the production, alongside the group versus individual, was simple: grief.
“I took away a theme of loss,” she said. “I saw how grieving can affect certain people and how it affects society as a whole, and how humanity tries to cope with that.”
As the audience shuffled out of the theater, their thoughts of the show being mumbled in the general noise of the crowd, one thing echoed through the minds of certain viewers: the final cheer of the team, an empowered “we are the Wolves.”
Published in the 3/4/20 edition