THE WOLVES Virtual Workshop - Dallas Theater Center
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THE WOLVES Virtual Workshop

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WELCOME TO THE VIRTUAL WORKSHOP
FOR THE WOLVES


ABOUT THE PLAY

In Sarah Delappe’s high speed, intricate dialogue of The Wolves, there is a striking integrity to the way her teenage characters unfold. It is a work that rests almost entirely on dialogue showing the conversations between a team of soccer players during warm up before their Saturday games. Alongside soccer drills, the girls cover a huge range of topics that are important to them and that are current to their lives.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

SARAH DELAPPE’s The Wolves (Pulitzer Prize finalist; Relentless Award; Lortel, Outer Critics Circle nominations) premiered at The Playwrights Realm, following an engagement with New York Stage and Film, and development with Clubbed Thumb. She is currently an LCT3 Writer in Residence and a member of Ars Nova Play Group. Other fellowships and developmental support include The MacDowell Colony, The Ground Floor, Page One Fellowship at The Playwrights Realm, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and Sitka Fellows Program. Education: MFA, Brooklyn College.

“I wanted to see a portrait of teenage girls as human beings – as complicated, nuanced, very idiosyncratic people who weren’t just girlfriends or sex objects or manic pixie dream girls but who were athletes and daughters and students and scholars and people who were trying actively to figure out who they were in this changing world around them.”        —Sarah DeLappe

Activity

Share in the comment section below how you feel society views cis/trans women in society? What are some issues that women must still endure and deal with in society?

 

 

FROM THE DIRECTOR, WENDY DANN

In the first week of 7th grade, I was changing clothes in the gym locker room with my friend Jennifer. She was sitting on the bench, crying. When I asked her what was wrong, all she could reply was, “I wish we could go back to 6th grade.” I didn’t know what she meant. But as middle school washed over us, her meaning became clear.

In 6th grade Jennifer and I giggled as our English teacher read poetry with the lights turned off. We held hands on the way to lunch. We played in her swimming pool. But as we moved through 7th and 8th grades and then high school, our web of friendships morphed into a complex landscape of loyalty, power and competition. I walked miles in the summer heat to a pay phone so Jennifer could call a boy she met the summer before. She suffered deeply my new friends and boyfriends. I turned down a homecoming dance invitation at her suggestion, only to find she accepted him the next day. I loved her and hated her. I sat next to her hospital bed when she was so sick she almost died, and when I left high school I hardly ever spoke to her again. These few details only begin to paint the full circle of Jennifer and me and Becky and Deanna and Paige. Or the whole other circle of girls I navigated adolescence with in the dressing room at ballet school six days a week.

Relational aggression among girls is only beginning to be studied and understood. It encompasses behavior that to adults might seem innocuous: eye rolls, secret messages, bumps in the hallway, talking behind someone’s back, false rumors, exclusion, intimidation, pressure. And for some girls, like player 14, aggression reaches its peak when a girl we thought was a friend abandons us alone with a boy.

How do we learn to treat other people? When do we learn it? In the absence of a trusted leader, how do we form a moral code?

When I first read The Wolves, it was a revelation. It was the first time I had read a play that was all about the relationships among girls (and I use the term “girls” intentionally here, the characters are under eighteen) and had nothing to do with their relationships to boys or men. It was also a revelation that the plot had nothing to do with their bodies as sexual objects. These were athletes, warriors. And every scene they’re preparing for battle. The Wolves are a pack of fierce, complex girls who fight and train against the obstacles of isolation, privilege and gender, grapple with morality and mortality, and finally use their collective strength to grow up.

Journal Activity

What battles do we face in society on any given day? How do we learn to treat other people? When do we learn it?

THE CHARACTERS

 

 

ABOUT SOCCER

Soccer can be traced back to ancient China, ancient Greece, and ancient Rome; it is difficult to determine which country originated it. England is generally credited with making soccer, or “football,” the game we know today. Soccer has been in the U.S. since the mid-nineteenth century. It grew in popularity in the 1960s as a result of the creation of two national teams. The participation of women in soccer grew after Title IX was enacted in 1972,

but it wasn’t until the U.S. team’s victory over China in the first Women’s World Cup in 1991 that women catapulted to the forefront of the sport. The first women’s professional soccer league in the U.S. formed after the success of the U.S. Women’s National Team at the 1999 Women’s World Cup and featured soccer stars such as Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, and Brandi Chastain.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the number of high school soccer players more than doubled, making soccer the fastest growing of all major U.S. sports. Today there are several national youth soccer club leagues, including the U.S. Youth Soccer Association and the American Youth Soccer Organization. Many high schools in the U.S. offer boys’ and girls’ soccer. Soccer is the third-most played team sport by high school girls today. Young soccer players may graduate from house leagues or rec leagues and local soccer games, to travel leagues, in which they travel to different cities to play against more competitive teams.

TITLE IX

“#7: Tony would never do this to boy’s U17… it’s like… it’s like sexist… that’s what this is
From THE WOLVES

The participation of women and girls in sports was not always common in the United States. Title IX became federal law under the Education Amendments Act of 1972. It states that,

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from
participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination
under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 

Under Title IX, women and men are required to receive equal opportunities to participate in sports. In order to receive federal funding, schools and universities have to make their programs for young women on par with those for young men. After Title IX was enacted, women suddenly received access to supplies, facilities, training, and sports scholarships that had previously been denied to them. Title IX paved the way for the explosion of female soccer teams and female participation in amateur and professional soccer. In addition to sports, Title IX opened the door for girls and women to receive more opportunities in math and science. The law also protects students against bullying and sexual harassment.

The object of soccer is to score more points than the opposing team by getting the ball into the opposing team’s goal. Players utilize a variety of moves during a game, including dribbling (moving the ball with your feet); passing the ball; shooting the ball towards the opposing team’s goal; defending your team’s goal and kicking. Players play on a pitch, or field, with two designated goals and penalty areas. A game is officiated by a referee and the referee’s decisions are final. Soccer can be played indoors or outdoors. With indoor soccer, the netted walls that surround the pitch mean that the ball can never go out of bounds and thereby ensures a faster-paced game. A soccer team has a minimum of seven and a maximum of eleven players. All players, except the goalie, are field players and may touch the ball with any part of their bodies except their hands. Soccer teams consist of a goalkeeper (goalie), midfield players, defensive players, and strikers.


GOALIE

A goalie is the last line of defense to keep the opposing team from scoring. Within the penalty area, they are the only player allowed to use their hands and arms to block shots and pick up the ball during game play.


MIDFIELD

Midfield players must be versatile at offense and defense. Their functions include assisting defense, getting the ball to the forwards to score a goal, and taking opportunities to core themselves when they see them


DEFENSIVE

Defensive players are tasked with making sure the ball does not get past them. They start the game near their goal box and typically stay on their side of the field. The offensive players work together to score goals. The striker is the primary goal-getter, and these players rarely venture into their own half.

GAMEPLAY

Youth soccer for the 16 and under is played in two 45-minute halves with the potential for two 15-minute overtime sections. The object of the game is to score more goals than the opponent. Games begin with a kick-off and after each goal, the ball is reset to kick-off position.

Send Us Your Team Picture!

Are you a soccer player? Share your team photos with us on Instagram. DM @dtceducation with your picture and we will share it on our instagram page!

SOCCER’S IMPACT ON THE BODY

The Wolves is unlike any other play.  The actresses within the show are constantly on their feet through most of the scenes, engaging in drills and movements that make you feel as if you are merely sitting on the sidelines at a soccer field.  Because of this, many of our actresses in the show have endured various ailments during their rehearsal process.

In an attempt to prevent this, before each rehearsal, the cast conditions their bodies by engaging in a number of rigorous exercises and stretches.  Some examples include: calf stretch planks. side-lying quad stretches, hamstring splits, runner stretches and hip-flexor stretches.

Soccer players, especially young women, are at risk for a number of injuries, physical ailments, and even mental health issues that can significantly impact their ability play. One of the most common injuries among young women in sports is a torn ACL or anterior cruciate ligament. This ligament is important for stability in the knee joint, and tears are typically extremely painful. Nearly always requires surgery, especially for those who are active. The recovery period can be up to 6 months. Unfortunately for our actresses, they must be present to perform night after night.  So many engage in physical therapy before rehearsals along with icing their injuries and re-taping or wrapping their ankles and legs in an effort to speed up their recovery time.

Activity: At home workout

Cardio Circuit Training
Try this circuit training – set a timer and do 30-60 seconds of each exercise and repeat. You may want to lengthen the total circuit depending on the age and fitness levels of your soccer players. Just make sure to remind them to warm up!

Some great cardio circuit training moves include the following: 
high knees • butt kicks • jumping jacks • burpees • alternating foot hops

RELEVANT THEMES IN THE PLAY

The play is a story that speaks beyond soccer.  The events of the play chart five weeks in the life of an indoor girls’ soccer team. We mostly encounter them when they are warming up before their games. The production functions in some ways like a dance theater piece because it’s so tightly choreographed. The play is also about a loss of innocence. The girls in this play begin the play insulated from a lot of different kinds of realities – political realities, social realities – and then the bubble gets burst.

Playwright Sarah Delappe wanted the characters to exist only as members of the team on the turf. This is the only place where they are athletes, first and foremost. Delappe was interested in creating a world where teenage girls could define themselves, as opposed to being defined by parents or boyfriends or the male gaze.

DeLappe put a Gertrude Stein quote on the first page of the script for The Wolves: “We are always the same age inside.” 

What does this quote mean to you? How does the play contribute to your understanding of this quote?

Politics and Current Events

The players struggle with a growing realization of world politics and world events, as well as the politics that exists within their own team structure.

Cambodia and Khmer Rouge

The Cambodian

#11: but it’s like he’s old
#25: he murdered 1000s of people
From THE WOLVES

Cambodia is a former French colony in Asia. It gained its independence in 1953. Because it shares a border with Vietnam, Cambodia was drawn into the Vietnam War, causing instability in the region. This instability led to the Cambodian Civil War, a conflict between the Khmer Rouge political party and its allies, and the Kingdom of Cambodia, the ruling political party.

The origins of the Khmer Rouge date to the early 1960s, when a small group of revolutionaries launched a rebellion against Cambodian ruler Prince Norodom Sihanouk. Among the leaders was a French-educated Communist, Saloth Sar. Sar would become known to history as Pol Pot, the pseudonym he adopted as leader of the Khmer Rouge after it came to power. The uprising remained small during the 1960s, while the war in neighboring Vietnam exploded. Khmer insurgents received no help from the Vietnamese Communists, who had reached an accommodation with Sihanouk that allowed them to resupply and rest their troops on Cambodian territory and who refrained, in return, from aiding Sihanouk’s enemies. The Khmer Rouge overthrew the Kingdom of Cambodia, or the Khmer Republic, and installed a totalitarian regime in Cambodia that it called Democratic Kampuchea.

Delappe draws many parallels between war and sports throughout the play, playing on the idea that sports games are often compared to “battlefields”.

Todos Los Niños

 #2: I’m talking about Mexican children in cages 
#11: not just Mexican mostly like Guatemalan and Honduran and like all over all over Central America
 #2: in cages! Cages! 
From THE WOLVES

Also in the play, #2 mentions that she is working with Amnesty International and her church group to knit scarves to raise money for children from Central America who are living in detention facilities in the U.S. The team discusses the humanitarian crisis of refugee children, grappling with the heaviness of the topic, while also discussing things like The Lord of the Rings and political correctness. 

Since the early 2000s, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have crossed the southern U.S. border. These children are generally fleeing gang violence or other violence at home. Many of the children who come across the border have been exploited by human smugglers. The influx of these children in recent years has created a humanitarian crisis. The U.S. government has struggled with how to cope with young refugees who are at risk of great harm, or death, if they are deported back to their home countries. Some of the children who come to the U.S. have family waiting for them, others do not. There are several moments when Delappe investigates how the young players negotiate their own sense of privilege when discussing children who are less fortunate. (Information courtesy of lct.org) 

Zoom Panel: With a group in your class, create a 10 minute short discussion about your sense of privilege. What is privilege? How does it show up in your life? How do we exercise our privilege in the world no matter what our background or experience is.  Record it and share with the class.

Ask an Actor: Interview with Sydney Lo

Who is your character? How would you define their personality?

I played #00, the goalkeeper on the team. She is a high-achieving, intelligent, hard working, well-rounded teenager. She is also extremely anxious, hard on herself, and silent for most of the play.

At the end of the play, she states that she is always “visualizing,” which may be the reason for her silence. One could argue that this “visualizing” is planning or preparing for future situations on the field, so she is always trying to get ahead of her next challenge.

Additionally, her silence is not mere indifference; rather, she holds deep feelings underneath the surface, and she unleashes them in “Week Five” of the play.

How would you describe the characters in the play? How has the playwright represented this particular group of young women?

Each character is very distinct, and every character is in a different place in terms of their maturity. They also have clear allies and opponents within the group.

The playwright Sarah DeLappe represents this group of young women as being unapologetic, honest, and imperfect. For most of the play, the characters speak without an adult present. This allows them to say things that might be considered inappropriate to say in “polite” social situations.

Additionally, when I acted in this show, my director, Wendy Dann, described this group as a bubble that slowly was deflating and coming apart as the play goes on. At the beginning of the play, the team is tight-knit and each person has a clear place on the team (except for #46, who disturbs this normalcy). As the group changes, they lose their sense of normalcy and are forced to confront what the future may hold. I think that the image of a deflating bubble is a helpful way to think of the group.

Which topics and themes in the play impacted you the most? What do you feel that young viewers would connect to?

I was very impacted by the theme of letting go. As the characters mature, we see them have to let go of parts of their lives and identities, whether that is through grief, forgiveness, or bravery. I think that people have to experience this throughout their entire lives, not just during their teenage years.

I think that young viewers will connect to the issue of fitting in with a group. Every character struggles with this in some way, but I think that by the end of the play, the group matures and realizes that each teammate is uniquely valuable.

Why is this play relevant now for young people?

Many plays in the traditional American theatre portray young women and girls as delicate, passive, and unimportant. This play flips that tradition on its head, and puts young women at center of the action. I think that it is important for all young people to see traditions being subverted so that they don’t feel limited, and so that they don’t see others as limited either.

Group Talk: Sydney brings up topics such as “the things we do not say in front of adults” “fitting into a group” and “confronting what the future may hold”. In a group share your thoughts on these topics with your teacher.  This is a listening session for them. Where they listen and learn more about you.

Visualizing: Sydney mentions that #00 states that she is always “visualizing” and that this could be connected to visualizing her future. Create a digital vision board. What do you visualize for your future? Present in class.

 

 

Ask an Actor: Interview with Molly Searcy,
Brierley Resident Acting Company member

Who is your character?

#11, Mid-field

How would you define their personality

#11 is intelligent, keenly observant, a mediator, empathetic, curious, considers every possibility.

 

 

How did you train and prepare for the show?

The process was an interesting one: it required a lot of strength, both physically and mentally. I trained for about 2.5 months prior to starting the show, doing intense bootcamp and HIIT workouts 6 days a week. I knew I had to be in great shape to get through the endurance test of an intense rehearsal process with hours of conditioning and soccer drills, 46 shows of 8 shows/week, on top of attending full-time graduate school. It was a lot—by the end, my body, my brain, and my spirit were exhausted. I gave it my all, every step of the way, beginning to end. It was a journey!

What challenges and beautiful moments did you have during the process?

My biggest challenge was exhaustion. As mentioned above, the schedule my fellow SMU MFA grad, Sydney Lo, and I faced was quite extreme. Full-time grad school on top of the production schedule made things really energetically tough. About ¾ of the way through the run, my body really started fighting me. My knees were acting up, as well as my lower back. Thank THE HEAVENS for our PTs, Andrea Strebler Santos, MAT, ATC, LAT, and Nick Dobson, PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS. They taped me up, gave me great rehab exercises and targeted massage—they were life savers. I don’t think I could have gotten through without them! I know several of my castmates felt the same. Andrea and Nick were just amazing.

Three of my favorite beautiful moments: The whole cast was taking a photo one afternoon between rehearsals in the Wyly front entryway…something unexpected happened, and we all absolutely lost our minds with laughter. It was hysterical and so needed. Sydney and I laughed about it even later that night. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder in my life. We were all so delirious at that point, and we needed a good laugh! Another beautiful moment I’d like to share is actually a book, The Wisdom of Sundays, by Oprah Winfrey. I have it on Audible, and I listened to it on repeat in the car, to and from the theater, in the dressing room, and while I was warming up. It gave me so much strength and the guidance I needed to keep getting up, even when I felt I was down. Finally, my favorite beautiful moment was watching Allison Pistorius’s work at the end of every show. She was magnificent, and I looked forward to her entrance every night. Her work was so full, specific, and embodied—I could watch her work forever.

Why do you recommend this play?

Unfortunately, I think many, if not most young people know what it’s like to feel excluded, perhaps even bullied. I think the same is true for feeling peer pressure. It’s not always easy to speak about these things, or even make sense of things in our own heads. Theater helps us make sense of it all, by giving us the opportunity to witness events play out in real time.  We go to the theatre to see ourselves, to understand the world around us. The Wolves gives us the opportunity to do just that.

Facebook: Visit our Project Discovery Facebook Page. Join the group and write a message addressed to Molly.  Share with her how being in theater has helped you learn more about yourself and the world around you. 

Archival photos by Karen Almond. Rehearsal photos by Morgana Wilborn.

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WELCOME TO THE VIRTUAL WORKSHOP
FOR THE WOLVES


ABOUT THE PLAY

In Sarah Delappe’s high speed, intricate dialogue of The Wolves, there is a striking integrity to the way her teenage characters unfold. It is a work that rests almost entirely on dialogue showing the conversations between a team of soccer players during warm up before their Saturday games. Alongside soccer drills, the girls cover a huge range of topics that are important to them and that are current to their lives.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

SARAH DELAPPE’s The Wolves (Pulitzer Prize finalist; Relentless Award; Lortel, Outer Critics Circle nominations) premiered at The Playwrights Realm, following an engagement with New York Stage and Film, and development with Clubbed Thumb. She is currently an LCT3 Writer in Residence and a member of Ars Nova Play Group. Other fellowships and developmental support include The MacDowell Colony, The Ground Floor, Page One Fellowship at The Playwrights Realm, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and Sitka Fellows Program. Education: MFA, Brooklyn College.

“I wanted to see a portrait of teenage girls as human beings – as complicated, nuanced, very idiosyncratic people who weren’t just girlfriends or sex objects or manic pixie dream girls but who were athletes and daughters and students and scholars and people who were trying actively to figure out who they were in this changing world around them.”        —Sarah DeLappe

Activity

Share in the comment section below how you feel society views cis/trans women in society? What are some issues that women must still endure and deal with in society?

 

 

FROM THE DIRECTOR, WENDY DANN

In the first week of 7th grade, I was changing clothes in the gym locker room with my friend Jennifer. She was sitting on the bench, crying. When I asked her what was wrong, all she could reply was, “I wish we could go back to 6th grade.” I didn’t know what she meant. But as middle school washed over us, her meaning became clear.

In 6th grade Jennifer and I giggled as our English teacher read poetry with the lights turned off. We held hands on the way to lunch. We played in her swimming pool. But as we moved through 7th and 8th grades and then high school, our web of friendships morphed into a complex landscape of loyalty, power and competition. I walked miles in the summer heat to a pay phone so Jennifer could call a boy she met the summer before. She suffered deeply my new friends and boyfriends. I turned down a homecoming dance invitation at her suggestion, only to find she accepted him the next day. I loved her and hated her. I sat next to her hospital bed when she was so sick she almost died, and when I left high school I hardly ever spoke to her again. These few details only begin to paint the full circle of Jennifer and me and Becky and Deanna and Paige. Or the whole other circle of girls I navigated adolescence with in the dressing room at ballet school six days a week.

Relational aggression among girls is only beginning to be studied and understood. It encompasses behavior that to adults might seem innocuous: eye rolls, secret messages, bumps in the hallway, talking behind someone’s back, false rumors, exclusion, intimidation, pressure. And for some girls, like player 14, aggression reaches its peak when a girl we thought was a friend abandons us alone with a boy.

How do we learn to treat other people? When do we learn it? In the absence of a trusted leader, how do we form a moral code?

When I first read The Wolves, it was a revelation. It was the first time I had read a play that was all about the relationships among girls (and I use the term “girls” intentionally here, the characters are under eighteen) and had nothing to do with their relationships to boys or men. It was also a revelation that the plot had nothing to do with their bodies as sexual objects. These were athletes, warriors. And every scene they’re preparing for battle. The Wolves are a pack of fierce, complex girls who fight and train against the obstacles of isolation, privilege and gender, grapple with morality and mortality, and finally use their collective strength to grow up.

Journal Activity

What battles do we face in society on any given day? How do we learn to treat other people? When do we learn it?

THE CHARACTERS

 

 

ABOUT SOCCER

Soccer can be traced back to ancient China, ancient Greece, and ancient Rome; it is difficult to determine which country originated it. England is generally credited with making soccer, or “football,” the game we know today. Soccer has been in the U.S. since the mid-nineteenth century. It grew in popularity in the 1960s as a result of the creation of two national teams. The participation of women in soccer grew after Title IX was enacted in 1972,

but it wasn’t until the U.S. team’s victory over China in the first Women’s World Cup in 1991 that women catapulted to the forefront of the sport. The first women’s professional soccer league in the U.S. formed after the success of the U.S. Women’s National Team at the 1999 Women’s World Cup and featured soccer stars such as Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, and Brandi Chastain.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the number of high school soccer players more than doubled, making soccer the fastest growing of all major U.S. sports. Today there are several national youth soccer club leagues, including the U.S. Youth Soccer Association and the American Youth Soccer Organization. Many high schools in the U.S. offer boys’ and girls’ soccer. Soccer is the third-most played team sport by high school girls today. Young soccer players may graduate from house leagues or rec leagues and local soccer games, to travel leagues, in which they travel to different cities to play against more competitive teams.

TITLE IX

“#7: Tony would never do this to boy’s U17… it’s like… it’s like sexist… that’s what this is
From THE WOLVES

The participation of women and girls in sports was not always common in the United States. Title IX became federal law under the Education Amendments Act of 1972. It states that,

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from
participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination
under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 

Under Title IX, women and men are required to receive equal opportunities to participate in sports. In order to receive federal funding, schools and universities have to make their programs for young women on par with those for young men. After Title IX was enacted, women suddenly received access to supplies, facilities, training, and sports scholarships that had previously been denied to them. Title IX paved the way for the explosion of female soccer teams and female participation in amateur and professional soccer. In addition to sports, Title IX opened the door for girls and women to receive more opportunities in math and science. The law also protects students against bullying and sexual harassment.

The object of soccer is to score more points than the opposing team by getting the ball into the opposing team’s goal. Players utilize a variety of moves during a game, including dribbling (moving the ball with your feet); passing the ball; shooting the ball towards the opposing team’s goal; defending your team’s goal and kicking. Players play on a pitch, or field, with two designated goals and penalty areas. A game is officiated by a referee and the referee’s decisions are final. Soccer can be played indoors or outdoors. With indoor soccer, the netted walls that surround the pitch mean that the ball can never go out of bounds and thereby ensures a faster-paced game. A soccer team has a minimum of seven and a maximum of eleven players. All players, except the goalie, are field players and may touch the ball with any part of their bodies except their hands. Soccer teams consist of a goalkeeper (goalie), midfield players, defensive players, and strikers.


GOALIE

A goalie is the last line of defense to keep the opposing team from scoring. Within the penalty area, they are the only player allowed to use their hands and arms to block shots and pick up the ball during game play.


MIDFIELD

Midfield players must be versatile at offense and defense. Their functions include assisting defense, getting the ball to the forwards to score a goal, and taking opportunities to core themselves when they see them


DEFENSIVE

Defensive players are tasked with making sure the ball does not get past them. They start the game near their goal box and typically stay on their side of the field. The offensive players work together to score goals. The striker is the primary goal-getter, and these players rarely venture into their own half.

GAMEPLAY

Youth soccer for the 16 and under is played in two 45-minute halves with the potential for two 15-minute overtime sections. The object of the game is to score more goals than the opponent. Games begin with a kick-off and after each goal, the ball is reset to kick-off position.

Send Us Your Team Picture!

Are you a soccer player? Share your team photos with us on Instagram. DM @dtceducation with your picture and we will share it on our instagram page!

SOCCER’S IMPACT ON THE BODY

The Wolves is unlike any other play.  The actresses within the show are constantly on their feet through most of the scenes, engaging in drills and movements that make you feel as if you are merely sitting on the sidelines at a soccer field.  Because of this, many of our actresses in the show have endured various ailments during their rehearsal process.

In an attempt to prevent this, before each rehearsal, the cast conditions their bodies by engaging in a number of rigorous exercises and stretches.  Some examples include: calf stretch planks. side-lying quad stretches, hamstring splits, runner stretches and hip-flexor stretches.

Soccer players, especially young women, are at risk for a number of injuries, physical ailments, and even mental health issues that can significantly impact their ability play. One of the most common injuries among young women in sports is a torn ACL or anterior cruciate ligament. This ligament is important for stability in the knee joint, and tears are typically extremely painful. Nearly always requires surgery, especially for those who are active. The recovery period can be up to 6 months. Unfortunately for our actresses, they must be present to perform night after night.  So many engage in physical therapy before rehearsals along with icing their injuries and re-taping or wrapping their ankles and legs in an effort to speed up their recovery time.

Activity: At home workout

Cardio Circuit Training
Try this circuit training – set a timer and do 30-60 seconds of each exercise and repeat. You may want to lengthen the total circuit depending on the age and fitness levels of your soccer players. Just make sure to remind them to warm up!

Some great cardio circuit training moves include the following: 
high knees • butt kicks • jumping jacks • burpees • alternating foot hops

RELEVANT THEMES IN THE PLAY

The play is a story that speaks beyond soccer.  The events of the play chart five weeks in the life of an indoor girls’ soccer team. We mostly encounter them when they are warming up before their games. The production functions in some ways like a dance theater piece because it’s so tightly choreographed. The play is also about a loss of innocence. The girls in this play begin the play insulated from a lot of different kinds of realities – political realities, social realities – and then the bubble gets burst.

Playwright Sarah Delappe wanted the characters to exist only as members of the team on the turf. This is the only place where they are athletes, first and foremost. Delappe was interested in creating a world where teenage girls could define themselves, as opposed to being defined by parents or boyfriends or the male gaze.

DeLappe put a Gertrude Stein quote on the first page of the script for The Wolves: “We are always the same age inside.” 

What does this quote mean to you? How does the play contribute to your understanding of this quote?

Politics and Current Events

The players struggle with a growing realization of world politics and world events, as well as the politics that exists within their own team structure.

Cambodia and Khmer Rouge

The Cambodian

#11: but it’s like he’s old
#25: he murdered 1000s of people
From THE WOLVES

Cambodia is a former French colony in Asia. It gained its independence in 1953. Because it shares a border with Vietnam, Cambodia was drawn into the Vietnam War, causing instability in the region. This instability led to the Cambodian Civil War, a conflict between the Khmer Rouge political party and its allies, and the Kingdom of Cambodia, the ruling political party.

The origins of the Khmer Rouge date to the early 1960s, when a small group of revolutionaries launched a rebellion against Cambodian ruler Prince Norodom Sihanouk. Among the leaders was a French-educated Communist, Saloth Sar. Sar would become known to history as Pol Pot, the pseudonym he adopted as leader of the Khmer Rouge after it came to power. The uprising remained small during the 1960s, while the war in neighboring Vietnam exploded. Khmer insurgents received no help from the Vietnamese Communists, who had reached an accommodation with Sihanouk that allowed them to resupply and rest their troops on Cambodian territory and who refrained, in return, from aiding Sihanouk’s enemies. The Khmer Rouge overthrew the Kingdom of Cambodia, or the Khmer Republic, and installed a totalitarian regime in Cambodia that it called Democratic Kampuchea.

Delappe draws many parallels between war and sports throughout the play, playing on the idea that sports games are often compared to “battlefields”.

Todos Los Niños

 #2: I’m talking about Mexican children in cages 
#11: not just Mexican mostly like Guatemalan and Honduran and like all over all over Central America
 #2: in cages! Cages! 
From THE WOLVES

Also in the play, #2 mentions that she is working with Amnesty International and her church group to knit scarves to raise money for children from Central America who are living in detention facilities in the U.S. The team discusses the humanitarian crisis of refugee children, grappling with the heaviness of the topic, while also discussing things like The Lord of the Rings and political correctness. 

Since the early 2000s, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have crossed the southern U.S. border. These children are generally fleeing gang violence or other violence at home. Many of the children who come across the border have been exploited by human smugglers. The influx of these children in recent years has created a humanitarian crisis. The U.S. government has struggled with how to cope with young refugees who are at risk of great harm, or death, if they are deported back to their home countries. Some of the children who come to the U.S. have family waiting for them, others do not. There are several moments when Delappe investigates how the young players negotiate their own sense of privilege when discussing children who are less fortunate. (Information courtesy of lct.org) 

Zoom Panel: With a group in your class, create a 10 minute short discussion about your sense of privilege. What is privilege? How does it show up in your life? How do we exercise our privilege in the world no matter what our background or experience is.  Record it and share with the class.

Ask an Actor: Interview with Sydney Lo

Who is your character? How would you define their personality?

I played #00, the goalkeeper on the team. She is a high-achieving, intelligent, hard working, well-rounded teenager. She is also extremely anxious, hard on herself, and silent for most of the play.

At the end of the play, she states that she is always “visualizing,” which may be the reason for her silence. One could argue that this “visualizing” is planning or preparing for future situations on the field, so she is always trying to get ahead of her next challenge.

Additionally, her silence is not mere indifference; rather, she holds deep feelings underneath the surface, and she unleashes them in “Week Five” of the play.

How would you describe the characters in the play? How has the playwright represented this particular group of young women?

Each character is very distinct, and every character is in a different place in terms of their maturity. They also have clear allies and opponents within the group.

The playwright Sarah DeLappe represents this group of young women as being unapologetic, honest, and imperfect. For most of the play, the characters speak without an adult present. This allows them to say things that might be considered inappropriate to say in “polite” social situations.

Additionally, when I acted in this show, my director, Wendy Dann, described this group as a bubble that slowly was deflating and coming apart as the play goes on. At the beginning of the play, the team is tight-knit and each person has a clear place on the team (except for #46, who disturbs this normalcy). As the group changes, they lose their sense of normalcy and are forced to confront what the future may hold. I think that the image of a deflating bubble is a helpful way to think of the group.

Which topics and themes in the play impacted you the most? What do you feel that young viewers would connect to?

I was very impacted by the theme of letting go. As the characters mature, we see them have to let go of parts of their lives and identities, whether that is through grief, forgiveness, or bravery. I think that people have to experience this throughout their entire lives, not just during their teenage years.

I think that young viewers will connect to the issue of fitting in with a group. Every character struggles with this in some way, but I think that by the end of the play, the group matures and realizes that each teammate is uniquely valuable.

Why is this play relevant now for young people?

Many plays in the traditional American theatre portray young women and girls as delicate, passive, and unimportant. This play flips that tradition on its head, and puts young women at center of the action. I think that it is important for all young people to see traditions being subverted so that they don’t feel limited, and so that they don’t see others as limited either.

Group Talk: Sydney brings up topics such as “the things we do not say in front of adults” “fitting into a group” and “confronting what the future may hold”. In a group share your thoughts on these topics with your teacher.  This is a listening session for them. Where they listen and learn more about you.

Visualizing: Sydney mentions that #00 states that she is always “visualizing” and that this could be connected to visualizing her future. Create a digital vision board. What do you visualize for your future? Present in class.

 

 

Ask an Actor: Interview with Molly Searcy,
Brierley Resident Acting Company member

Who is your character?

#11, Mid-field

How would you define their personality

#11 is intelligent, keenly observant, a mediator, empathetic, curious, considers every possibility.

 

 

How did you train and prepare for the show?

The process was an interesting one: it required a lot of strength, both physically and mentally. I trained for about 2.5 months prior to starting the show, doing intense bootcamp and HIIT workouts 6 days a week. I knew I had to be in great shape to get through the endurance test of an intense rehearsal process with hours of conditioning and soccer drills, 46 shows of 8 shows/week, on top of attending full-time graduate school. It was a lot—by the end, my body, my brain, and my spirit were exhausted. I gave it my all, every step of the way, beginning to end. It was a journey!

What challenges and beautiful moments did you have during the process?

My biggest challenge was exhaustion. As mentioned above, the schedule my fellow SMU MFA grad, Sydney Lo, and I faced was quite extreme. Full-time grad school on top of the production schedule made things really energetically tough. About ¾ of the way through the run, my body really started fighting me. My knees were acting up, as well as my lower back. Thank THE HEAVENS for our PTs, Andrea Strebler Santos, MAT, ATC, LAT, and Nick Dobson, PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS. They taped me up, gave me great rehab exercises and targeted massage—they were life savers. I don’t think I could have gotten through without them! I know several of my castmates felt the same. Andrea and Nick were just amazing.

Three of my favorite beautiful moments: The whole cast was taking a photo one afternoon between rehearsals in the Wyly front entryway…something unexpected happened, and we all absolutely lost our minds with laughter. It was hysterical and so needed. Sydney and I laughed about it even later that night. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder in my life. We were all so delirious at that point, and we needed a good laugh! Another beautiful moment I’d like to share is actually a book, The Wisdom of Sundays, by Oprah Winfrey. I have it on Audible, and I listened to it on repeat in the car, to and from the theater, in the dressing room, and while I was warming up. It gave me so much strength and the guidance I needed to keep getting up, even when I felt I was down. Finally, my favorite beautiful moment was watching Allison Pistorius’s work at the end of every show. She was magnificent, and I looked forward to her entrance every night. Her work was so full, specific, and embodied—I could watch her work forever.

Why do you recommend this play?

Unfortunately, I think many, if not most young people know what it’s like to feel excluded, perhaps even bullied. I think the same is true for feeling peer pressure. It’s not always easy to speak about these things, or even make sense of things in our own heads. Theater helps us make sense of it all, by giving us the opportunity to witness events play out in real time.  We go to the theatre to see ourselves, to understand the world around us. The Wolves gives us the opportunity to do just that.

Facebook: Visit our Project Discovery Facebook Page. Join the group and write a message addressed to Molly.  Share with her how being in theater has helped you learn more about yourself and the world around you. 

Archival photos by Karen Almond. Rehearsal photos by Morgana Wilborn.

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