Lakewood Playhouse and edgy theater are two expressions of the South Sound stage scene that belong together. Just in the last few years, Managing Artistic Director John Munn has suggested, pleaded, and at times, fought for shows to come to his stage. South Sound theatre-lovers will remember Glengarry Glen Ross, American Idiot, and Angels in America: Parts One and Two. Taut and risky theatre, but theatre with the power to change those who dare see it. Lakewood Playhouse took another leap into the abyss this weekend with “The Wolves.” The cast is made up of 14-16-year-old soccer players. This is not a play about competitive sports. In about two hours, we learn a little about the workings of the female teenager’s mind in the 21st Century. And we, the audience, are moved. Lakewood Playhouse: GOOOALLLLLL!
A theatre critic smarter than myself once said that reviewing regional community theatre was like singing, “Accentuate the Positive,” 40 times a year. We do accentuate the positive. We assure the audience (and, oh so gently admonish the actor) the negative will improve over the run of the show. We more or less ignore Mr. In Between. In the next couple of paragraphs, I will break that rule.
Paragraph One: Who was best?
They were all the best! I could not select one girl who outperformed her teammate. The cross-talk at the beginning of the play was some of the best dialogue staging I have ever heard! Each girl took part in her own conversation and adeptly kept track of two other lines of discussion. It was a celebration of verbal communication in a cat’s cradle form and was magnificently performed.
Paragraph Two: Um, some improvement is necessary.
No! After reviewing 200+ plays in five years, you develop an ear for the dropped line, and an eye for the actor falling out of character. These actors stayed in their roles, even when the main action took place across the stage. Veteran actors (actors with 30-40 years on the boards) at times do not stay glued to the character that well.
Director Indeah Harris deserves her kudos. The casting was superb, as each actor interpreted her role as part of the whole. Without a doubt, next year’s Lakewood Playhouse awards night jury will remember Ms. Harris’ expertise. If not, Drama in the Hood will gladly stuff the ballot box in her favor.
Is “The Wolves,” a wholly comfortable play to watch? Not always. However, the tense drama is interspersed with surprising moments of humor. Because, that’s the way this age operates and operates this cast does through a schematic of truth and honesty.
Are we denying each actor’s moment in the sun by failing to name names? Not at all, because we’re going to do it the way all of our favorite teams are introduced. Starting lineup style.
“Ladies and gentlemen, GET ON YOUR FEET! Introducing the starting lineup for YOUR WOLVES!”
#11, TAYLOR GREIG (“Atta’ girl, Taylor!”)
#25 ANDREYA PRO (“Whoop, whoop!”)
#13 ALYSSA GRIES (“Tear it up, Alyssa!”)
#46 KAYDANCE ROWDEN (“Kaydance! You’re the one!”)
#2 JASMINE SMITH (“You rock, Jasmine.”)
#7 COURTNEY RAINER (“Hey, that’s Courtney Rainer. She’s my favorite!”)
#14 PENELOPE VENTURINI (“Penelope. PENELOPE! LOOK U…SHE LOOKED. DID YOU SEE THAT? SHE LOOKED!”)
#8 MIA EMMA UHL (“MI-A!” “MI-A!” “MI-A!” MI-A!”)
#00 SIERRA “MAX” MARGULLIS (“Ha! No goals today! Max is the great wall of goalkeeping! YOU’RE THE BEST, MAX! LOVE YOU!”)
Soccer Mom: ELAINE WEAVER
Ladies, this standing ovation for The Wolves is as well-deserved as any in the South Sound this year. Bravo!
The Wolves,” by Sarah DeLappe, Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd, 98499. Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun. 2 pm through March 22. Tickets: tix6.centerstageticketing.com/sites/lakewoodplayhouse/ Info: lakewoodplayhouse.org, or 253-588-0042.