Student Actors Tackle Award-Winning Play

Published by Tom Porter. Photography by Alex Cornell Du Houx '06.

For its latest stage offering, the Bowdoin Department of Theater and Dance is putting on three performances of “The Wolves” by Sarah DeLappe. The play tells the story of a girls’ soccer team from the perspective of their weekly pre-match warm-up.

From global politics to “who’s dating who,” the characters navigate big questions and wage tiny battles as they carry out their stretching exercises. The play has been described as “a portrait of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for nine American girls who just want to score some goals.” After its Off-Broadway premiere in 2016, “The Wolves” went on to be a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as being chosen as a New York Times Critic’s Pick and winning the 2017 Obie Award for Ensemble work, among other accolades.

Dress Rehearsal Slide Show:

A note from the director: 
It is not often that we get to see a group of teenage girls on stage. It is even rarer to see those young women’s hopes, fears, disappointments, and everyday thoughts as the focus of an entire play. Society often reduces teenagers in general, and teenage girls in particular, to stereotypes: they are represented as moody, boy-crazy, overly concerned with appearances, catty, back-stabbing, and, most perversely, dumb. The Wolves, instead, makes the case that they are simply human. They are worried about college and about immigrants at the border, they are grappling with the ethics of collective punishment while trying to impress the college scouts that hold the girls’ athletic, and possibly intellectual, future in their hands. They love their bodies sometimes and hate their bodies sometimes; they are supportive and caring but also fierce and self-indulgent. It doesn’t seem all that brave to claim that teenage girls have full, robust inner lives that spill out all over their outer lives, shaping who they will become and, in turn, the world they will make. But in a society where we penalize “upspeak” and demean girls for wanting control over their own bodies, perhaps just listening to them talk to one another is a radical act.

This production was rehearsed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which drove home for me the incredible value of sharing physical space with one another. Like the girls who play on the Wolves, the women in this play came together and built something stronger, more valuable, and more dynamic than simply the sum of their parts—Assistant Professor of Theater Lindsay Livingston.

The play runs from October 21 to 23 at Wish Theater.