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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

REVIEW: ‘The Wolves’ makes its mark on audience

The+Wolves+ran+Nov.+18-19+and+Dec.+1-4+at+the+Helfaer+Theatre.+

Photo by Courtesy of Madelyn Noh

“The Wolves” ran Nov. 18-19 and Dec. 1-4 at the Helfaer Theatre.

Every so often, there comes along a piece of art that sticks with you. You may not always know why: maybe it makes you ask questions you never expected to, maybe it reveals things about yourself you aren’t sure of yet or maybe it just interests you because you don’t fully understand it.

But, whatever the case may be, you never forget it.

Six years ago, I had this experience watching my high school’s production of Sarah DeLappe’s “The Wolves.” I hated it. Not because the performances in the show were bad, but quite the opposite. I hated the play because, at that point in my life, it was a piece of art that asked questions I wasn’t ready to answer. Questions of gender, sexuality, racism, politics and grief that left me uncomfortable. 

So, instead of confronting them, I did what any reasonable middle schooler does. I ate a S’more Poptart, played some Minecraft and made myself forget all about it. At least until this year.

Marquette Theater’s production of “The Wolves” opened its doors Nov. 18 and played its last show this past Sunday. The play, featuring five segmented pre-game soccer practices, stars a tight-knit group of soccer players as they grapple with different events happening around the world and in their lives. 

Notably, the all-female cast of “The Wolves” and the candid, crude language you’d expect from a competitive athletic team give the play a level of authenticity and edge that – especially in my second viewing – made the team dynamic feel incredibly believable. 

The production also featured a number of real soccer warm-ups and equipment, combined with seats for the audience on-stage, making the whole show a very immersive experience.

Having competed on athletic teams in high school myself, the “tough love” that the players have for each other and the out-of-pocket insults that get thrown around were as funny as they hit close to home. 

In particular, the dynamic with the “new girl” on the team, played by Kelsie Kasky, a junior in the College of Communication, felt like just the kind of event that would cause pointless drama and gossip. Kasky’s timid but intentional role was a great touch in an otherwise “loud” cast of characters and I loved the personality she put into her performance.

More comedic roles, like #13, played by Natalie Murray, a junior in the College of Communication, were great at breaking up the more dramatic scenes with crude humor, which consistently cracked up the audience. Murray’s excellent timing and delivery helped nail the play’s jokes. As someone who didn’t love the script’s sense of humor when they first saw it, she did a great job of elevating the material. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a scene featuring a mental breakdown towards the end of the show showed the team’s goalie, played by Miranda Hunt, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, as she struggles with her own mental illness and anxiety. Hunt’s raw, powerful performance left the audience shocked and it was very impressive to see so much emotion put into a role with so few lines of dialogue.

Without spoiling anything, the ending of the show was incredibly powerful, largely due to the impressive performances by the cast and how it leaves the viewer guessing which direction it’s going to go. Despite the 90-minute runtime and experimental set-up, I was never bored while watching and was impressed by just how fast-paced the cast was able to keep the show.

Despite any reservations, I had as a closed-minded 8th grader, “The Wolves” is a very impressive production that feels just as pertinent now as it was back in 2016. Although the idea of a 90-minute play about soccer may seem a bit boring or strange on the surface, this production is one that I was thrilled to be able to see again. I genuinely can’t wait to see it again and see how my perspective changes a month, a year or six more years down the line. 

This story was written by Will Eikenbary. They can be reached at [email protected]

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Will Eikenbary, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

Will is an Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor at the Wire. They are a sophomore from Omaha, NE studying digital media, advertising and philosophy.

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