The Wolves (play)

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The Wolves is a 2016 play by Sarah DeLappe. It premiered Off-Broadway at The Duke at 42nd Street in September 2016 and centers on the experiences of high school girls through their weekly Saturday morning pre-game soccer warmups. The play was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.


The Wolves is set in an indoor soccer facility. Each scene depicts the nine teenage girls who make up the Wolves, a soccer team, warming up before their game each week.

The first scene opens with discussion of a murderous Cambodian dictator, and conversations stem from there. Overlapping dialogue illustrates an atmosphere where each group of girls have their own, specific conversations while still chiming in on the main topic. These spin-offs include period gossip, talk of boyfriends, their coach's obvious hangovers, and speculations about the new girl, #46, who is said to live in a “yogurt” (a yurt) and repeatedly burst in conversations at the most inappropriate times such as mentioning how the team's striker, #7, had an abortion.

In every scene, the girls are going through a stretching routine led by #25. This is one of the only repetitive actions, besides #7's constant use of the word “fuck” and the goalie, #00, suffering from social anxiety attacks and consequently running outside to vomit. The girls sometimes continue their gossip from the previous week, bringing new drama and topics of conversation. #46 slowly begins to fit in and most girls seem to grow more comfortable with each other as the season progresses.

A ski trip taken by #7 and #14 before the second-to-last game leaves the team suffering from injuries and internal drama. #7 suffers a season-ending injury, which forces #46 to step up. She excels, and is even scouted along with two other girls while the rest watch enviously from the sidelines. #7 and #14 bring their ski trip squabble back to the field as well. #14 expresses her anger towards her friend about her neglect during the trip and being left with a strange guy (#7's boyfriend's friend). They fight, and end the day on a terrible note.

Tragedy strikes before the final game, which causes #00 to break down in the stadium at night, but also overcome her anxiety. The others are grieving, and assume among themselves that the others will ditch the game. With a possible forfeit looming, it feels as though the Wolves’ season will end on the lowest possible note, until all of the other girls come to the stadium one by one, allowing them to play. As they rally together, Soccer Mom suddenly approaches them, giving them a delirious speech about how they have banded together in spite of everything, leaving everyone speechless.

Production history[edit]

The play had a workshop at Playwrights Horizons Theater School in 2015 in association with Clubbed Thumb, where the play had been developed.[1]

The play was originally produced Off-Broadway at The Duke on 42nd Street by The Playwrights Realm in association with New York Stage & Film and Vassar's Powerhouse Theatre season. The play opened on August 29, 2016, officially on September 11, 2016 and closed on September 29, 2016. The play re-opened at The Duke on November 29, 2016 and closed on December 29, 2016 with additional support from commercial producers Scott Rudin and Eli Bush.[2] It subsequently returned to an Off-Broadway engagement at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi Newhouse Theater on November 1, 2017 and closed on January 7, 2018.[2] The play was directed by Lila Neugebauer.

The play had its European premiere at Theatre Royal Stratford East in October 2018, directed by Ellen McDougall (Artistic Director of Gate Theatre). [3]

Characters and original cast[edit]

Role The Duke on 42nd Street (2016) The Duke on 42nd Street (2016) Mitzi Newhouse Theater (2017)
#00 Lizzy Jutila
#2 Sarah Mezzanotte
#7 Brenna Coates
#8 Midori Francis
#11 Susannah Perkins
#13 Jenna Dioguardi
#14 Samia Finnerty
#25 Lauren Patten Paola Sanchez Abreu
#46 Tedra Millan
Soccer Mom Mia Barron Kate Arrington Mia Barron

Honors and awards[edit]

It received the American Playwriting Foundation's inaugural Relentless Award in 2015,[4] [5] and was a New York Times Critic's Pick.[6] The Economist reviewer wrote: "She has penned an absorbing portrait of female adolescence in The Wolves".[7] The play was a finalist in 2015-16 for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.[1] The play won the 2017 Obie Award for Ensemble work.[8] The play was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The committee wrote: "For a timely play about a girls’ high school soccer team that illuminates with the unmistakable ping of reality the way young selves are formed when innate character clashes with external challenges."[9]


  1. ^ a b "Sarah DeLappe - The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize". Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b The Wolves, retrieved April 16, 2019
  3. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Theatre Royal Stratford East Announces Full Casting For THE WOLVES". Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  4. ^ "Review: ‘The Wolves’: A Pack of Female Warriors, Each Determined to Score" The Independent, 2016
  5. ^ Paulson, Michael. "Two Playwrights Will Share Prize in Honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman" The New York Times, November 8, 2015
  6. ^ Brantley, Ben (11 September 2016). "Review: 'The Wolves': A Pack of Female Warriors, Each Determined to Score". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  7. ^ E. B. "Sarah DeLappe is a playwright to watch" The Economist, December 13, 2016
  8. ^ 2017 Winners
  9. ^ "Drama", retrieved April 16, 2019