SCAD's mainstage production of Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves.
DIRECTOR: Meg Kelly
SCENIC DESIGNER: Cecelia Backiel
COSTUME DESIGNER: Emma George
When I initially read The Wolves, I was caught off guard by the lack of names. This aspect of the script caused me to see the characters first and foremost as team and in a way, a family. The setting is an indoor soccer field over a period of six Saturdays during winter. This soccer field is a second home to these girls and while they experience many things as a family, they also have many individual discoveries.
First, they are a family, and I want to address them as such. Early on, it was decided that in our production, we would seat the audience on both sides of the field like a professional indoor soccer stadium. This decision already forces the audience to see the performers from different angles (not so good when you’re trying to unify a family). There would be times when the whole cast would be working and moving together as they were stretching and my goal changed to helping the audience’s experience to be comparable, although not the same. Knowing that each member of the crowd gets a slightly different view, the best I could hope for was a similar experience. To best accomplish this, I will to mirror the angle of the lights but have slight color variation on each side.
Despite the team being a family, they are disjointed at the beginning of the play. They are good enough to play together but not completely in sync the way a true team would operate. As the play progresses, there are moments where we are able focus on team members as individuals. These times allow them to connect and, regardless of the difficulties they face, became closer. I plan to use the moments when they are connecting to introduce warmth and move away from the cool light of the soccer field’s fluorescents. However, this also worked the opposite way when there was discord. When team members argued, I would be able to drain some warmth.
The Wolves, although based in realism, does incorporate some unexpected moments of surrealism. When #46 juggles the soccer ball and #00 is alone during the timeout scene, I felt the play push towards something that was more feeling than fact. These moments in combination with the feeling of the unending AstroTurf for the setting sanction the use of more fantastic almost dream-like lighting. I want to accomplish this using black light in conjunction with the scenic and costume designer to amplify the numbers on the jerseys and the large circle in the middle of the field. Additionally, I will create the feeling of shifting light through the use of the slight color variations in opposing systems and longer cue lengths.
Overall, I believe that the struggle of the family, much like a den of wolves, incorporated the full spectrum of emotions for our audience. The audience looked into the field not only to find themselves, but into the mirror of the audience across the field and were forced to study themselves for moments of warmth, stark coldness, and even some sparks of fantasy.