Quote of the Day: If women understood and exercised their power they could remake the world. Emily Taft Douglas, politician

I declare 2019 The Year of the Woman! Mary Aalgaard. I see so many powerful, bold moves and hear strong voices rising together. This is the year it will gain momentum.

The Wolves, a Jungle Theater production, at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis, MN. Photo by Dan Norman

The Wolves is a play, written by Sarah Delappe, directed by Sarah Rasmussen, produced by the Jungle Theater, performing at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis, MN, and it’s full of teen angst, competitive soccer players, female bonding, and heart. I’ll admit, I was overwhelmed by the content. I attended the performance with my friend and Twin Cities Theater Blogger colleague Kendra, Artfully Engaging. When it was over, I looked at her and said, “I feel like I’ve hit with a ton of bricks.”

I have raised four teenagers (all boys), and I teach numerous young women piano and theater workshops, so I know teen angst. I know that they feel deeply, but don’t always have the words to express those feelings. They’ll give you about five minutes on a heavy topic, then switch to the lesson, or another subject, or pet the cat. What made The Wolves hard for me to watch was all the heavy topics they covered, when one of them could be the subject of an entire play. Maybe that’s what Delappe was trying to show. That teens deal with all of that, and more, maybe not in one soccer season, but certainly throughout their young lives. 

I like to think that the teen and young adult years are filled with hope and optimism. You have the world at your feet! You think you’re invincible and everyone is rooting for you, and for the most part, that’s true. The recent rash of teen suicides in our area proves otherwise. Teens suffer. The Wolves does not cover teen suicide (although, I thought for a moment that it might), but it includes death, grief, cancer, depression, eating disorders, pregnancy and abortion, with the shout, “What I do with my body is no one else’s business!” It also covers inclusion and exclusion, who’s in and who’s out, team competitiveness and cooperation, and sharing everything from germs to tampons. Everything that happens on a girls’ team, not limited to sports, but rather, the community of young women.

When I was explaining the show to my boys and one of their girlfriends, they said, “That’s a lot to cover in one play.” “Yes,” I said, “It is.” “Would you recommend seeing it?” they asked. “Yes,” I said, an emphatic yes. No matter who you bring to this show, you will have much to discuss. Although, I wouldn’t recommend it to young kids. They use “locker room talk” i.e. cuss words galore, and some of the content is for older teens and adults.

The directing, by Jungle Artist Director Sarah Rasmussen, is excellent. She has the team working together in moments, stretching, talking, sharing. Then pulling apart at times, breaking into smaller groups. I liked the use of the “Spider” drill of kicking the ball in a circle, connecting each one. In the rare scenes where only one player is on the field/stage, it is an intimate, personal moment.

All the actors are outstanding. Becca Hart as #7 is stunning. She nails the part of the wounded teen girl. She’s hard and brittle on the outside, with a sharp tongue and wild spirit, and yet, her inner core is soft and bruised. Megan Burns is #46, the outsider, who comes in with exceptional soccer skills, but lacking in social graces. She has to work to be accepted. Scenes that made me laugh had to do with the cold that got passed around and the orange slices, (oh, you soccer moms). Scenes that made my heart hurt dealt with body image and sexual pressures, and the men who let them down. 

The Wolves, a Jungle Theater production, at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. Photo by Dan Norman

Kendra says, “I really liked the play a lot. The fast-paced dialogue and honest conversations between the young women was relatable to me. And even though at times the story dealt with dark subject matter, I was uplifted by the community that supported each other at the most difficult of times. And the cast was amazing. It was clear to me why this was important enough to bring back for a second run.”

You can see The Jungle’s second run of The Wolves at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis, MN through February 17, 2019. Bring some young adults. It’s worth the uncomfortable moments because they will surely spark important conversations.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What groups were you in when you were in high school, or today? When did it feel like a supportive unit? When did it feel disconnected and competitive?