Warm­ing up to teen Wolves

Canning Gazette - - STAGE - Tanya Macnaughto­n

RE­HEARSALS for The Wolves by Perth-based in­de­pen­dent theatre com­pany Red Ry­der Pro­duc­tions have in­volved more than the usual script learn­ing and scene block­ing, given it is about a teenage girls soc­cer team.

Theatre com­pany co­founder Ali­son van Reeken, who also has a small role as The Soc­cer Mum, said the cast had been do­ing a 45-minute phys­i­cal warm-up at each re­hearsal to build stamina for the soc­cer drills in the show.

“The chal­lenge is a bit dif­fer­ent to a usual play,” she said.

Writ­ten by New York play­wright Sarah De Lappe, the Pulitzer Prizenom­i­nated play is set in Mid­dle Amer­ica at an un­der-17 girls soc­cer team.

“Each scene is set in their warm-up be­fore a game so there is a lot of soc­cer hap­pen­ing around them, but it’s more about

their con­ver­sa­tions and the kinds of things young women talk about,” van Reeken, of St James, said.

“Here they’re not seen as some­one’s girl­friend, daugh­ter or sis­ter; they’re just them in their own space, com­pletely com­fort­able.

“They’re ath­letic young women too which is some­thing we’re see­ing more of with the growth of AFLW, the Matil­das and women’s cricket.

“It’s a space women can be in that’s pow­er­ful, phys­i­cal and strong.

“They have silly con­ver­sa­tions, be­cause of course they’re teenagers, but they’re also talk­ing about con­tem­po­rary world events and there’s a lit­tle bit of tragedy to­wards the end that they have to deal with. It’s a broad spec­trum."

Van Reeken said she was im­pressed by the in­no­va­tion of De Lappe’s script where the voices of the nine young women were over­lapped in con­ver­sa­tions, as would hap­pen in real life.

“When I read it, I was so ex­hil­a­rated by it and ques­tioned why I’d never seen some­thing like this be­fore, then I got an­gry be­cause

I’d never seen it be­fore,” she said.

“I hope au­di­ences are ex­hil­a­rated by watch­ing it too. It’s about widen­ing peo­ple’s ideas of what a young woman can be.

“They can get an­gry about things and don’t have to be po­lite all the time or pas­sive-ag­gres­sive be­cause they’re not al­lowed to be con­fronta­tional. And it is a re­ally funny script with lots of hu­mour. It’s 90 min­utes with no in­ter­val, so it just rol­licks along.”

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