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No Refund Theatre Presents: ‘The Wolves’

No Refund Theatre continued its fall catalog of shows with its second presentation of the semester. This week, NRT will present “The Wolves.”

Written by Sarah DeLappe and directed by Ally Jean Setliff, Abbie La Porta, and Tess Murphy, the play follows nine female soccer teammates, known as the Wolves, who are portrayed during their warmup sessions before games in routines run by their captain. During these warmups, the team tackles the issues facing the average American girl.

Topics include social gossip, their coach’s drinking habits, abortion, the meaning of the First Amendment, and a conversation about the Cambodian genocide. All of which the teammates explore these issues in a carefree way, while also continuing in their own side conversations apart from the broader discussions with the team.

Conflict arises among the teammates when the new girl, No. 46, finally arrives to join the rest of the team. No. 46 is new to the area and a novice to soccer, and her apparent skill for the first time being on a team creates friction between other teammates.

Following a ski trip that leaves No. 7 and No. 14 with injuries, No. 46 is forced to fill a position on the team and, along with two teammates, catches the attention of a scout leaving the other girls on the sidelines filled with envy and spite. From tragedy to loss, the girls learn how to be successful together, and that there’s more to life beyond their high school indoor soccer team.

With its performance of “The Wolves,” Setliff knew going in that she wanted to bring a story that focused on girls and a female perspective.

“I read ‘The Wolves’ in high school, and I always wanted to work with a cast of female and female-presenting actors in serious and realistic roles,” Setliff said. “That was a big motivation for doing this show with this group of people.”

In fact, her biggest motivation for wanting to perform “The Wolves” came from experiences with No Refund Theatre in the past.

“I worked on a show last year where I was the only girl involved. I had a great experience working on that show, but I definitely missed working with girls,” she said.

When talking about what the cast ended up looking like for her show, Setliff admitted that casting for “The Wolves” was harder than she might’ve expected.

“I actually had a really hard time casting this show just because a lot of really good people auditioned,” she said.

“I always wanted this show to be a bit more process over product,” Setliff continued. “I, of course, looked for people who I thought could play these characters well but really looked for people I wanted to work on this process with.”

Junior Katie Marakovits was cast as No. 25, the team’s captain, even if she didn’t exactly see it that way.

“The magic of the show is that no one has names and it’s just an ensemble, team-heavy show,” Marakovits said. “There’s no lead, there’s no one person. It’s like how an actual soccer team functions.”

When talking about being the authority figure on the team, Marakovits talked about auditioning for the role and seeing some of herself in No. 25.

“There’s so many layers to her,” Marakovits said. “I feel like in this cast, all of us can relate to our characters in some capacity, some more than others. I care about academics and extracurriculars. She’s so passionate about winning and being undefeated and the soccer games are her everything. She has her moments of coming back and having a sense of being a normal teenager.”

Alongside Marakovits as team captain, senior Stella Begnal took on the role of outcast and reluctant No. 2, a teammate who still wants to be part of the group but also is well-intentioned in sticking up for her teammates. Begnal talked a little about how No. 2 functions with her teammates and how it translated personally.

“I read the script beforehand and the character definitely resonated with me in terms of her awkwardness and her — she’s interesting because she has a pure heart and pure intentions, but the way it comes out is oftentimes pretty insensitive,” Begnal said. “I just feel like I got her immediately. I understood who she was, more than I understood the other characters.”

She also spoke about the work as a whole, and DeLappe’s overall allegory of a high school soccer team and being a teenage girl as being more akin to preparing for battle.

“In the preface of the show, the playwright says this isn’t a show about soccer, it’s a show about teenage girls and she compares them to a battalion in an army,” Begnal said. “The interesting this is that war versus being a teenage girl playing soccer sounds like a ridiculous metaphor, but that’s what it feels like for these girls… outside of this dome they’re in, nothing else exists to them… it’s also the only place where they can be themselves without judgment, it’s interesting for [No. 2] specifically. It’s like survival of the fittest.”

Three performances of “The Wolves” will play throughout the weekend with the first beginning at 9 p.m. on Thursday, September 28, and two additional shows at 8 p.m. on September 29 and 30. All will be shown in Forum 111.

No Refund Theatre offers all of its shows free of charge to anyone interested in attending.

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About the Author

Luke Pieczynski

Luke is a sophomore DUS premajor hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, and is one of Onward State's social media editors. He can often be found in the Starbucks line waiting for a nitro cold brew, or listening to one of Dua Lipa's latest releases. He's a fiercely loyal Sheetz Freak and will not settle for another Pennsylvania gas station. Please send your best political thriller to him on Twitter @lukepie11 or to his email [email protected].

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