After two hit runs at Playwrights Realm, Lincoln Center Theater presents an encore engagement of Sarah DeLappe's drama about a suburban girls soccer team. More…
Left quad. Right quad. Lunge. A girls indoor soccer team warms up. From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, the team members navigate big questions and wage tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. A portrait of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for nine American girls who just want to score some goals.
"An amazing debut play...Neugebauer directs and choreographs the play with mesmerizing syncopation...The text is so real that it's almost as if DeLappe transcribed real conversations between teenage girls; the performances are so authentic that it almost feels like we're eavesdropping on these ritualistic moments of young adulthood. For this engagement, Neugebauer and her excellent company have managed to clarify the material even further...One of the best plays of the decade." Full Review
"Some of the most exciting and affecting ensemble work on a New York stage...One of the greatest achievements is that it doesn’t allow for so-called breakout performances. It’s not that DeLappe’s characters are absorbed into a bloblike collective...But she and Neugebauer have created a remarkably level playing field for a team of disparate personalities who give fresh credence to the idea that onstage, in union there is strength." Full Review
"The conversation is wildly realistic. The play opens with a blizzard-fast round of overlapping discussions...This is dazzling writing, played to perfection by an exceptional acting company and directed with great precision by Neugebauer. And DeLappe goes on from there. She assaults the air with dialogue as fast paced as a quick-pass exercise...Quite astoundingly, the author creates a stage filled with fully-rounded characters without even giving them names; just numbers." Full Review
"A dizzying whirl of attitude, anxiety and adolescent hormonal volatility practically pings off the walls...The subtlety of the craftsmanship, the assurance of tone and the thematic incisiveness are remarkable, astonishingly so for a first work...DeLappe has a knack for making her artfulness appear almost accidental. Her dialogue has the unwritten sound of real conversation...This is one of the most striking playwriting debuts in recent memory, and absolutely not to be missed." Full Review
“DeLappe weaves us a journey into which we are all pulled. Neugebauer has directed with a choreographer’s eye and and a philosopher’s heart. The actors each commit fully to one another and to the larger story they are creating...By the time we realize where we have landed, these women have a grip on our hearts that we had not foreseen...These are Wolves of hope and innocence, determination and vulnerability, bravery and passion." Full Review
"'The Wolves' asks us to listen more carefully, and to pay attention. As the team members differentiate themselves from the pack, the play teases out larger questions hidden amid its keen naturalism...DeLappe takes all of them seriously. Her hopeful, respectful play is an implicit reproach to those who worry or complain about kids today. Seeing 'The Wolves' for a second time, I picked up on a number of things I had missed the first time. The soccer here is smart as hell." Full Review
"Stellar performances...Neugebauer takes DeLappe’s script to deliver one of the most arresting first scenes of a play in memory...Youth-affirming to the extreme...Neugebauer orchestrates the initial rapid-fire outbursts of conversation so that we pick up only snatches of words...The beauty of DeLappe’s writing is her ability to pinpoint that very moment in life when a number of 17-year-olds learn that life is unconscionably unfair but they’ll survive." Full Review
"Over the course of a taut ninety minutes, we watch them instead warming up in an endless series of calisthenics, dazzlingly directed by Lila Neugebauer...You give in to this play’s unique and relentless rhythm – consisting of endless motion and overlapping dialogue...What DeLappe leaves us with is a searing insight into what it means to grow up and face both the unpredictable and inevitable events in life...'The Wolves' doesn’t break our hearts. Rather, it fortifies them." Full Review
"'The Wolves’ most impressive feat is its subtlety: DeLappe’s script is empty in all the right places, as the audience pieces together aspects of the characters’ lives from clues given...This is also a testament to both Neugebauer’s direction and the cast’s innate understanding of their characters...A play that takes teenage girls seriously, never leaning into easy parody, but instead elevating their struggles and successes into an unforgettable, deeply moving work of drama." Full Review
“An exceptional ensemble…The work of director Lila Neugebauer achieves a remarkable naturalism, even while the actors are choreographed into set routines and speaking their overlapping lines while allowing for the more important points to surface above the clamor. As DeLappe's debut piece, ‘The Wolves’ introduces a playwright with a fine ear for authentic dialogue who can cleverly structure a play non-traditionally.” Full Review
"Smart, nimble and told through an intriguing out-of-the-box approach, the play is a gripping slice of fly-on-the-stadium-wall realism...There’s more crosstalk and interruptions than a 'Real Housewives' reunion. And, yeah, that’s exactly how people talk in groups...The play is skillfully directed by Lila Neugebauer and deftly acted by a tightknit ensemble of 10...Add me to the pack of admirers for this terrific play." Full Review
"Thrilling...Wonderfully acted by a tight-knit ensemble, 'The Wolves' is about the things we miss when we fail to pay attention beyond the random (albeit entertaining) chit-chat and gossip of young women...Commendations all around for this original play that captures so well the secret world and voices of these high school girls. Director Lila Neugebauer has done a splendid job of building an authentic team out of her young performers." Full Review
"DeLappe’s play is a brilliantly written, performed, and directed entrée into a world of how teenage girls really speak to each other, and relate to one another when what they share is a collective identity, a team identity, a sporting identity—and how those identities intersect with friendship, ambition, and rivalry...It feels as if we come to know—through DeLappe’s writing and the uniformly excellent performances—all the players if not well, then believably enough." Full Review
"A crack team of outstanding young actresses...Neugebauer’s touch is both delicate and decisive. She doesn’t dress plays up or weight them down with excess conceptual baggage...As a piece of writing, it’s undeniably strong, and also noticeably crafted—but there’s also something about its arc that feels too neatly calibrated to be truly astonishing...The nine young women who prowl the practice pitch in 'The Wolves' take a good play and go a long way towards making it a great one." Full Review
"A terrific ensemble cast...As the teammates warm up, words fly in an onslaught of random snippets, the discussions running from trivial to practical...More troubling concerns take the play into deeper waters. As do the considerable losses, losses that go well beyond the soccer field or pageant stage. Watching these young women deal with the harsh realities thrown at them, gives significant depth to a play that might otherwise seem superficial." Full Review
“I’m not sure what to call this. ‘Play’ seems inappropriate; slice of life theater? Like French films, one has a sense of history before and after our observation. The piece has no arc, which may put some of you to sleep. Several minor occurrences, one major event, and some inexplicable behavior occur along an unseen timeline...Often everyone talks at once...Actors are skilled. Everyone’s limber. Timing is precise. Dialogue is authentic. But why?” Full Review
for a previous production "An exhilarating play…Directed with naturalistic virtuosity by Lila Neugebauer…DeLappe’s brilliance is that she reveals her players as they gossip, taunt, comfort and conspire not as archetypes, but as young women on the cusp of becoming their own self-defined characters, with the possibility to change, challenge and grow…In this heady rush of adolescent energy, ideas and emotion, the ensemble work is astonishing." Full Review
for a previous production "A hilarious and emotional portrait of teenage girls discovering who they are, on and off the soccer field…Neugebauer has expertly crafted the social cues and the natural pauses lending to the feeling that we’re really in the room with this team…Everything that comes out of their mouths feels real and unrehearsed…‘The Wolves’ is one of the strongest new plays I’ve seen Off Broadway in recent memory...DeLappe’s voice is strong, refreshing, and certainly one to watch." Full Review
for a previous production "Courageous, laugh-out-loud funny and oh-my-mascara-is-all-over my face touching…A hilarious and fast-paced show…No subject is left untouched. The audience is kept on the edges of their seats while watching words and emotions volley between the players. The girls are played phenomenally, with nary a weak link on the team…These young powerhouse actresses do justice to the strong script." Full Review
for a previous production “With the audience seated in bleachers on wooden folding chairs on either side of a wide expanse of AstroTurf, you definitely get the feel of being a fly on the wall listening in to the casual conversation of garrulous teenagers. DeLappe's great strength is in capturing with remarkable accuracy the expressions, rhythms, and inflections of teenage girls, as well as their preoccupations with the trivialities of menstruation, boys, and other essentials of immediate post-pubescence.” Full Review
for a previous production "Neugebauer has calibrated the volume and the emphasis so you’ll never be totally lost. But you’ll nevertheless be lost, in the most realistic and powerful way...The firecracker dialogue, even half garbled in the rush of it, has the unmistakable ping of reality. It is both hilarious and perfectly expressive of each character who speaks it...Girlhood, obviously, is the general subject, but not in any saccharine sense...With luck, this extraordinary new work will become a popular one, too." Full Review
for a previous production "Sarah DeLappe, the playwright, delivers spectacularly on her debut production...This is where DeLappe’s genius is most apparent: in the details and the differences...It’s captivating watching the teens argue, fight, tease, and commune together, wanting to be a uniformed force, but also striving for personal identity, individualization, acceptance, and accomplishment...The team and the play are the true winners here." Full Review
for a previous production "Sarah DeLappe’s extremely skillful debut...DeLappe's exquisitely orchestrated cross talk and overlapping banter, dense with profanity and jokes, is quite musical...The characters are drawn quickly but precisely and are acted by a dynamic young ensemble...Their fraught, heightened lives are revealed in blurry glimpses, as the restless, roving narrative darts across a curving swath of AstroTurf as green as youth." Full Review
for a previous production "The author tells a fully realized story over the course of a taut ninety minutes, skillfully dropping information here and there so that her audience can gradually put things together and realize what has purposely not been spelled out in capital letters...Neugebauer does a scalpel-precise job with her young Wolves; DeLappe has a lot going on in the world of her play, and Neugebauer guides our attention so we catch it all...Make sure not to miss it this month." Full Review
for a previous production "DeLappe's dialogue adeptly mines the profundity out of these trivial exchanges...Equally impressive is how DeLappe gets us well-acquainted with all nine of the girls on the team, played by a roster of excellent actresses...It's a picture of female camaraderie in its most authentic form...Most heartening of all is that DeLappe has created an ensemble of distinct female characters without leaning on romantic partners or traditional feminine tropes to define them." Full Review
See it if You want a realistic drama with funny and tender moments and a great cast of actors. I couldn’t love this play enough.
Don't see it if You need an affirmative plot and/or dislike naturalism in plays
See it if You love ensemble pieces and want to support work created by women with an all-female cast.
Don't see it if You don't appreciate seeing plays that shift in mood suddenly.
See it if You enjoy plays about the human experience and realism, especially about women and girls issues. All the performances and characters excel
Don't see it if You don’t care about what it’s like to grow up being a woman.
See it if you want an insight into the world of teenagers today, team sports or all the complications that both provide.
Don't see it if you blush at adult language or talk about body functions and sex or aren't interested in what teenage girls are like today.
See it if You want a powerful play that you will be thinking about long after you leave the theater. You love great acting and brilliant writing
Don't see it if Honestly, I've got nothing here. Go see it
See it if you are looking for a deceptively well-crafted and devastating examination of high school girlhood through indoor soccer. A must see!
Don't see it if you cannot appreciate plays in a modern vernacular or about ordinary subjects.
See it if You enjoy ensemble pieces/multiple perspectives, and take interest in examining issues relevant to the experiences of young women
Don't see it if You struggle to follow simultaneous conversations/feel averse to theater in the round
See it if Original topic. Very true to how teenage girls are, without the typical cliches. Several nice performances. Well staged.
Don't see it if Some people might find the cross-talk hard to understand.
See it if People with a sense of humor who care about how people treat each other and the human condition, in general. And super funny teenagers.
Don't see it if You are embarrassed to laugh and cry in public.
See it if you like straightforward narrative in innovative yet realistic manner, enjoy women's sports & seeing young women at varying maturity
Don't see it if Overlapping dialogue bothers you, have no interest in women's sports, you are not permitted within 500 feet of young women
See it if you're a teenager, or are interested in teenage issues. It's a beautiful play, and everybody should would get something out of it
Don't see it if You want something light, fun and plotless
See it if you want to see the work of an exciting new voice, with an ensemble of exciting young actors, in an original, nuanced, captivating play.
Don't see it if you have no interest in the lives of teenage girls (tho this play avoids the usual stereotypes, conventions and pitfalls you might expect).
See it if you like sports and are interested in teenage lives. You will enjoy the complexity of the characters and watch them grow.
Don't see it if you don't care about teenagers and their problems. If you think that teenage problems are not as important as your problems.
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