Playing on a sports team is a large part of many people’s childhoods. Hours of dedication, sweat and hard work can make tensions run high and reach the extremes of relationships. These complicated social dynamics are examined in JMU’s first Studio Theatre production of the year, “The Wolves.”
“The Wolves” opens in the Studio Theatre of the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday and runs through Sunday. The show follows a high school indoor competitive soccer team called the Wolves. The audience sees the entire six-week soccer season through each of the warm-ups before their games and how relationships change from game to game.
Paola Losada is a senior theatre major and the director of “The Wolves.” The relatability of the characters and the fact that it was an all-female cast attracted her to the play.
“These girls aren’t bound by stereotypes,” Losada said. “They might adhere to them, but they also break them in really extraordinary ways, so I think I was just drawn to the show by the complexity of these women and the complexity of what does it mean to come together as a team?”
One of the play’s most distinct aspects is that no characters are named — each are only referred to by their number on the team. This allows for a more universal interpretation and for each member of the audience to create their own character.
Catie Lewis, a junior theatre major, plays the role of No.13. She enjoys the relatability of the piece to people of all backgrounds and how the play has allowed her to expand her horizons as an actor.
“I think a lot of people have a preconceived notion about theater and what it does and that they’re never going to be able to relate to something,” Lewis said. “But I would argue that a lot of people, male or female or regardless of any gender they identify with, can identify with the idea of being in a group of people and talking about a range of topics, which is ideally, in its most basic form, what ‘The Wolves’ does.”
The play was cast last spring, and its cast has been working out and conditioning throughout the summer to accurately portray high-level soccer players. While it’s been an intense process, it’s also been a rewarding one for those involved.
Belle Nicholas is a sophomore musical theatre major who plays No. 46. She appreciates being a part of the production because it presents a unique opportunity to learn from her peers, since it’s all student run.
“It’s nice because it is all a learning process,” Nicholas said. “We are all learning from each other and so we are spending our time being students and even though it is an extracurricular, it’s still an educational experience for all of us.”
Above all, the cast and crew of the production feel passionately about the piece. They identify with its ability to make a profound impact on a diverse audience both at JMU and in the Harrisonburg community. The play can span the common ground between those passionate about athletics, those enthusiastic about the arts and those anywhere in between.
“These girls are so much like real people,” Nicholas said. “The lessons they learned are lessons that everyone can take with them in their lives.”
CORRECTION (9/20 at 10:59 a.m.): Belle Nicholas plays No. 46 and Catie Lewis is a junior. A previous version of the article said Nichols plays No. 42 and identified Lewis as a senior.
Contact Camryn Finn at email@example.com. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.