By Kat Kaderabek
Catholic University’s Drama Department recently completed their run of the 2016 Broadway play, The Wolves. Intimidating and revolutionary, the show provides an uninterrupted perspective of an all girls soccer team and the complexities that arise from friendships as they enter into adulthood. The delivery by the Catholic University drama department was exceptionally moving. The cast was phenomenal in bringing their characters to life.
The performance took place in the Callan Theater, on Catholic’s campus, where the seats surrounded the entire set as opposed to facing a stage. The arena-like set up of the show only added to the realistic experience of watching a soccer team play. Though the set itself was minimal, the cast had a very personal relationship with the audience due to their proximity which made the deliveries of dramatic speeches and touching moments all the more powerful.
The show highlighted the complexities and dynamics of an all girls soccer team on the cusp of a championship win. The cast consisted of the hard-driven captain, the talented new outsider, the quiet and anxious goalie, and several other dynamic characters.
Junior drama and psychology major, Ari Reardon, played number 46, the newest addition to the already tight-knit group of girls. Her character is on the outside for most of the show, and her role presents the struggles of fitting in within a group where set roles are already filled.
#46 experiences the pain and longing felt by an outsider, as she is the butt of several jokes. However, her desire to be accepted by the girls does not compromise her morals. Though socially awkward, #46 remains true to herself and her opinions. It is her quiet strength that ultimately leads to her acceptance by the team in time.
Reardon’s dedication to her role is not to be understated. She practiced juggling a soccer ball for two months prior to the show in preparation for the moment she would have to juggle and sing simultaneously. In regards to her character, Reardon found #46 extremely relatable.
“I acted a lot like #46 in middle school. I was socially awkward and didn’t have too many friends. I’ve grown a lot more confident since then and theatre has helped me a lot with that,” said Reardon. “But it was really weird seeing this person that I once was and that is something I dove into, when acting in this show.”
The show offered a raw and at times, vulgar, portrayal into the adolescent lives of female athletes. In their struggle to identify themselves, their relationships with others change. In particular, #7 and #14’s relationship was called into question.
In the beginning, #7 and #14 are thick as thieves, with an obvious power dynamic between the two. However, as #14 begins to realize her own morals and worth, the dynamic between #14 and the confident, foul-mouthed striker #7 changes. In a dramatic, and tear-jerking scene, #14 stands up to her friend’s bullying.
Sophomore drama and communications major, Trystan Critchon played the underscored #14 and found the confrontation scene to be her favorite aspect of the role.
“It wasn’t until the Saturday night performance where I felt like I truly understood that moment,” said Critchon. “But when It finally clicked, everything inside me felt for this poor girl who wants to be accepted and deemed ‘cool.’”
The transition scenes were entertaining snippets of music where the cast would perform choreographed dances to songs such as “Hunger” by Florence and the Machine, “Fighter” by Christina Aguliera, and “Raise Hell” by Dorothy. These female empowerment songs were perfect in conveying the unspoken messages behind The Wolves: that there is a hunger, loneliness, uncertainty, and worthlessness felt by all in their transition into adulthood.
“I think this show is a window into the lives of, not only athletes, but female teen athletes and the struggles that they go through in life, especially now when they are on the cusp of adulthood and are trying to figure out how they fit in the world,” Reardon said.
The final scenes of the show consisted of a series of revelations. The girls gather for a game in the wake of one of their teammates’ deaths. The majority of the mystery comes from trying to figure out who died and for what reason. The possibility of a suicide by one of the characters, another’s eating disorder, and one player’s despair is at the forefront of the audience’s minds, especially given a very brutal scene presented before the death in which the goalie repeatedly slams her bag on the ground and screams.
The show provides an excellent perspective on dealing with grief as a team. Though their differences are extensive, the death of a teammate brings The Wolves together for a final, heart-wrenching scream in memory of their departed friend.
The reality of their daily problems fades and the characters come into themselves with this tragic incident. In a way, the death of #14 opens the door for the girls to fully accept one another. The captain cuts her hair and admits she is close friends with the quirky new girl Louise. The goalie no longer feels sick to her stomach and begins to talk more, coming out of her shell in a way the characters had never seen before. All of the characters have changed, but in a good way, as a result of the unexpected and tragic incident.
The show left the audience in a state of reflection. While the ending was not a happy one, it was also not sad. The cast did an amazing job in letting their character’s insecurities surface in a very relatable way which left the audience reminiscent of their own experiences. The show called to mind the very nature of what it means to be a teenager growing up in today’s society. In this way is Catholic University’s portrayal of the show very touching and poignant. The progressive writing, relatable nature of the characters, and the accurate representation in which they are portrayed made The Wolves a beautiful and authentic must-see show.