A fully immersive theater experience, “The Wolves,” is Ixion’s cold plunge dip into the secret world of adolescent girls on a contemporary high school soccer team.
This is not much about soccer. The nine-member ensemble? They have acutely sharp minds of their own, a raging roller coaster of bubbling-over angst. They reveal depths of anguish, about which, we adults, have no clue whatsoever. (Unless, we are currently parents of our own tenacious teenagers.)
All this takes place, in our faces, on a minuscule stage of green felt suggesting the sideline of a soccer field. Staging consists of warmup exercises, with whole group conversations happening at the speed of light, ranging from the Middle East to Middle Earth, from Cambodia and the Czech Republic, to boyfriend issues and Grandma’s breast cancer. They all talk at the same time, overlapping and interrupting each other. At times, one can’t figure out who is saying what. No matter. They replicate the reality of 16 to 18-year-olds.
The play takes place over six Saturdays. Warmup sessions unfold a wide range of personal tableaux that separate one from the other, but ultimately bring all of them together in unity.
Parents and grandparents might proudly argue as to which of these profound athletes stands out most from the pack.
#25, Sarah Wietecher, is the team captain, barking cohesion into chaotic conversations with her best impression of Al Pacino. She draws multiple F-word expletives from #7, Liz Croff, her antagonistic nemesis whose political perspectives are 100 percent rebellion.
#46, Neysa McGarrity, is the odd woman out. She’s homeschooled and has played soccer all around the world but mostly for fun. She finds the group strange, they in turn find her out of place.
Each of the nine women have their moment in the sun, all are highly verbal and challengingly contentious. In a scene near the end of the play, Sara Frank-Hepfer shows up as the blathering soccer mom who goes on about girls who use the word “like” displaying insecurity — the whole group shuts up in a silence. Whatever.
Frank-Hepfer represents, and does it well, the without-a-clue parent who knows not the cauldron of intensity that exists in the soccer team.
“The Wolves” ends with a group chant, “We are the Wolves.” If one looks closely, these are the women who will one day emerge as leaders and senators. One, perhaps, the president.
Sat., Sept. 21, 8-10 p.m., Sun., Sept. 22, 2-4 p.m.
The Robin Theatre
1105 S. Washington Ave.
To reserve golden tickets, contact (517) 775-4246
or visit ixiontheatre.com