Life, identity and football on stage
A Pulitzer Prize nominated play on life, identity and football in a women's football team - and we've got two tickets to give away!30 January 2019 | Stuart Thomas
A stunning collision of life, identity and football returns to the stage at the Belvoir St Theatre in February, when the Pulitzer Prize nominated play The Wolves returns to Sydney.
Sarah DeLappe’s text has won critical acclaim and the play enjoyed a successful run at the Old Fitz Theatre, Woolloomooloo in Sydney in early 2018. Now the Belvoir plays host to a confronting, touching and engaging representation of a group of young women, linked by football and challenged by each other and their perceptions of the world around them.
I spoke to Director Jessica Arthur during the week and asked her about the unique nature of the production. With ten young women occupying the warm-up space of an indoor soccer facility as the sole setting, she highlighted the importance of creating a privacy and trust in it. One that subsequently enables DeLappe’s script to come to life.
“It is a unique and intimate space for the women, a space which only they share and to which the audience is a fly on the wall.”
DeLappe often uses a war metaphor to explain the individuality of the environment and the Director explained the powerful sense of “friendship, understanding and the bonds” created. Just as soldiers in battle share and live an experience understood by no one but themselves, as do the Wolves.
Arthur spoke of the young women as existing in a still “young life” yet also being “challenged by the thought of breaking away and shaping their individual identities”, outside the team environment.
The undefeated success of the team acts as a metaphor for the foundational strength that the young women possess. As their time together looms ever closer to an end, the moral, social and political questions they explore become ever primal and confronting, with an explosive conclusion to the performance sure to capture the attention of the audience.
From the safe and secure environment of pre-match stretching and supportive conversation, The Wolves presents ten individual young women with all their flaws, hopes and fears on show. Often, all at once.
“There are often three to four conversations happening at the same time,” said Arthur and despite their constantly evolving thoughts and feelings as their weekly warm-up sessions take place, one constant remains.
An inextricable bond and understanding of the collective experience unites the team; both on a personal level but also as a metaphor for the universality of the human experience. With the characters viewed only as numbers for much of the production, the gritty, urban, indoor soccer experience acts as an instructive tale for all.
These young women are the Wolves; aggressive, confident and vulnerable all at the same time. They have found football, each other and now face their biggest challenge; discovering themselves in a broader world.
The Wolves plays from the 2nd of February to the 3rd of March at the Belvoir Street Theatre.
We've got two tickets to giveaway to a performance of 'The Wolves' on Tuesday 19 February at 6.30pm. Entry form below. Entries close on Friday 8 February 2019.
Belvoir Street Theatre PR image by John Marmaras.