Ohio State’s Department of Theatre is bringing a 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist to the stage this week in its premiere of “The Wolves,” a play created by Sarah DeLappe.
The production tells the story of nine teenage girls who play on the same indoor soccer league. It takes place during the team’s warm-ups before each game. A look into the different lives of each player is shown through their constant banter as they approach the challenges of being young females in today’s world.
Elizabeth Wellman, director of “The Wolves” and a lecturer in the Department of Theatre, said that one of her favorite things about the play is how the teenagers’ conversations are captured.
“It’s much more realistic dialogue,” Wellman said. “It has an exciting feeling about it, and a lot of youth energy.”
Although Wellman has been directing plays for more than 10 years, she said this play is distinct in her directing career.
“If you’ve been at Ohio State for a while and you’ve seen a play here, you know that we make good theater and the theater has value here,” Wellman said. “It’s a tight, funny, sad, complicated 90 minutes and I think people will have fun.”
Wellman added that having an all-female cast has given production members an outlet to work together to make something that presents young women accurately rather than stereotypically.
“I think what the play does a really good job with is breaking stereotypes with asking us to think about girlhood as a more complex, multifaceted thing,” Wellman said. “The girls in the play are not perfect. They get to be angry. They get to be aggressive. They get to be funny and vulnerable.”
Olivia Sawatzki, a third-year in theater, plays Number 46 in the play, a forward on the field who is new to the team. Sawatzki described her character as an outsider who struggles socially with being accepted into the group in the beginning.
Sawatzki added that many of the cast members, including herself, had never played soccer before and that much of the rehearsal process in the beginning focused on learning the sport.
“We had to have a lot of training and coaching from people that know and play soccer, starting from our auditions and call-backs, to our first day,” Sawatzki said.
Sawatzki said the show is a comedy, but also includes a number of topics she hopes young girls will relate to, such as gender, politics and sexuality.
“The show’s very funny,” Sawatzki said. “It’s very topical, very modern.”
“The Wolves” will run Feb. 14-24 at the Drake Performance Center’s Roy Bowen Theatre. Tickets can be purchased by calling 614-292-2295 or at the Drake’s box office and cost $15 for students, $18 for faculty, senior citizens and alumni; and $20 for the general public.