THE WOLVES (2019)
THE WOLVES (2019), Belvoir presents a Red Line Production at Upstairs Belvoir, 2 February-3 March 2019. Photography by Brett Boardman: above - the team with orange segments; below - Brenna Harding and Nadia Zwecker; below again - Sofia Nolan, Sarah Meacham and Emma Harvie
This Red Line production (with a couple of cast changes) opened a year ago at the Old Fitz and was an instant sell-out. Taken up by Belvoir for its 2019 season, it’s hard to see it being other than a smash hit all over again.
In March 2018, I wrote this review ...
... in which I said, of a play that’s by and about young women:
“2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama finalist The Wolves is remarkable for a number of reasons. For one thing, the play is the debut work of the then 26-year-old Sarah DeLappe. (The other losing finalist of the year was Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, and the winner was the great Lyn Nottage, so far the only woman to win the Pulitzer twice.)”
Of the setting and story:
“Set somewhere in suburban Middle America, the high school indoor [soccer] team members gather to warm up and sass each other as they prepare for their next match. Writing of the New York production, Ben Brantley likened the quick-fire, multi-subject, overlapping dialogue to Robert Altman; here in Sydney we are more likely to hear it as Caryl Churchill. Either way, the dazzling choreography of the athletic interchanges and intertwined dialogue is seamless and brilliantly executed by the cast and director Jessica Arthur.”
From the close confines of the Old Fitz, The Wolves (Brenna Harding, Emma Harvie, Chika Ikogwe, Sarah Meacham, Renee Lim, Sofia Nolan, Michelle Ny, Cece Peters, Nikita Waldron and Nadia Zwecker) now inhabit Belvoir’s larger space with exhilarating confidence. Their dialogue, soccer action and emotional (mis)adventures make for a kaleidoscopic experience of ever-changing drama and laughter.
The high school girls are authentic and thrilling and my companion for the evening, god-daughter Felicity Dayhew (age 15, Year 10, SCEGGS Darlinghurst), said of the 90 minutes:
“It’s so cool. It’s real. The girls are like me and my friends and their stories are what happens. It’s not really about soccer, although it is! It wasn’t what I expected. I really want all my friends to see it.”