Taylor Patzman Contributing Writer
TheatreVCU’s first mainstage show of the season, “The Wolves,” which features an all-female cast of nine teen soccer players and a soccer mom, opens today at Raymond Hodges Theater.
The performance is the Richmond debut of the 2016 play written by Sarah DeLappe and produced in partnership with Cadence Theatre Company.
“It’s such a new play, it’s a celebrated play,” said Sharon Ott, director of the show and chair of the VCU Department of Theatre. “It celebrates women in a very authentic and natural way.”
Ott has spent years working in theaters across the country and recently began her second year at VCU. Wanting “The Wolves” to be her first show at the university, Ott said she wanted to make a statement by producing this show.
“The script is incredibly realistic, which is amazing, but makes for a lot of ‘ums’ and ‘likes,’” said Abbey Kincheloe, one of the actors.
The dialogue between the actors also features some vulgar language.
“I think some people will be shocked by that because they just don’t expect that from young women,” Ott said. “They don’t expect the ferocity from young women. And that might be surprising.”
The rehearsal process sets the show apart from many other plays being produced in Richmond. The cast was trained athletically by local youth travel soccer teams, the VCU women’s soccer team and the Virginia Repertory Theater’s artistic director, Nathaniel Shaw, a former soccer player.
“It’s very, very unusual to have to do athletic maneuvers while you’re acting,” Ott said.
Along with the physical training involved in preparing for “The Wolves,” its production was also unusual.
“Everybody on our production team are women,” Ott said. “We didn’t plan it that way, it just happened. So it was interesting when we first started having some guys come in the room.”
The show also features double casting of some characters, so on eight separate dates three characters will be portrayed by different actors.
As an actor, the show is important to Kincheloe. She said anyone in attendance will be able to identify with at least one character.
“This is a play about teenage girls that doesn’t just revolve around a love story, or a stereotypical woman struggle,” Kincheloe said. “This script shows real, strong, teenagers trying to figure out how to live.”
Tickets, ranging from $5 to $19.99, for “The Wolves” can be purchased online at the TheatreVCU ShowClix website, or at the box office on opening night. The show runs until Oct. 7.