For the first show of their 2019-2020 season, The O’Neal Players will present Sarah DeLappe’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-nominated play “The Wolves” on Saturday November 2nd at 7:30, Sunday November 3rd at 3:00, and Monday November 4th at 7:30 in the Hannah Center Theater of The O’Neal School. Currently showing at many college and professional theaters, “The Wolves” depicts the life of teenage girls through the lens of indoor soccer over the course of six weeks.
Each character is simply know by their jersey number, yet DeLappe is careful to avoid trite stereotypes. Instead, she writes characters that are complex, distinctive, and oftentimes unpredictable. As DeLappe states in the preface to “The Wolves,” “I thought of the play like a war movie. Instead of a troop of young men preparing for battle, we watch a team of young women warming up for a soccer game.”
As part of their preparation, the cast went to watch the Cary-based National Women’s Soccer League and defending champions North Carolina Courage play Reign FC in the NWSL semi-final playoff game at WakeMed Soccer Park. Before the Courage’s 4-1 victory, actors got to sit on the team bench during warm-ups before meeting several team members after the game including forward and World Cup winner Jessica McDonald. Clara Lussier (#11) said in discussing her experience at the game, “Getting to be on the field with the NC Courage was an absolutely amazing experience! It was incredible how much I was able to learn by just watching them warm up. Sarah Massey (#00) also adds, “Their effort and dedication showed through in each of the players and inspired us all to put just as much effort into our play.”
O’Neal theater teacher and director, Ian Watson, was first inspired to stage the play after being drawn to both the realism of DeLappe’s poetic language and spending many afternoons watching his sister play defender for their high school soccer team. As Watson expresses, “My sister first introduced me to soccer and is the reason I fell in love with it. So, this play is a very much a thank you to her. We also happen to be performing the play after the U.S. Women’s National Team just won back-to-back World Cups, and that is also pretty awesome!”
Members of the cast include Sarah Massey as #00 and goalie, Ana Huesa as #25 and captain, Piper Everts as #2 and defender, Maddie Vaswani as #8 and defender, Bray Woodard as #11 and midfielder, Clara Lussier as #13 and midfield, Angela Carr as #14 Molly Mansker as striker, Vicky Mills as striker, and Trixie Gomlak as soccer mom. The production staff includes Ian Watson as director, Lily Gutschmit as production stage manager, Hannah Burns as assistant stage manager, and Tyler Jordan as lighting and sound designer.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students/non-students/faculty and may be purchased by visiting www.onealschool.org/arts
and clicking on “Buy Performance Tickets.” There will be a talkback session with director and cast after the Saturday November 2nd
show that will cover the play’s themes, significance, and expand on the actors’ experience with the NC Courage. “The Wolves” has a suggested admittance of ages 12 and up.