By Katheryn Bourne, Staff Writer–
The roar of the crowd, the squeaking of tennis shoes against the glossy gym floor, the harsh thump of the soccer ball being kicked into the net. The sounds and smells of cheering fans and popcorn fill the gym. While the glamor of the game never truly stops drawing in the players the locker room is the real sanctuary: the place where the girls can talk about life, the pretty and ugly of it.
Displaying the bond of teammates after the score has been decided, the UTC Theater Company began their new season with a performance of “The Wolves”, a Pulitzer Prize winning drama written by Sarah DeLappe. This behind-the-scenes development of young female athletes delves into issues of maturity, acceptance of others, bullying, and civil rights.
The UTC Theater Company held performances of “The Wolves” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1-6 at the Chattanooga School of Arts and Sciences, utilizing their gym for the drama. The actresses portraying the soccer team, clad in royal purple jerseys, acted out scenes in weekly increments. These weeks were divided into periods of triumph and defeat, following the practices and games of the season.
Director of the play and UTC theater professor, Gaye Jeffers, decided to perform “The Wolves” because of its portrayal of the raw reality and perspective it gives to women’s athletics.
“Ultimately, the show embraces the idea of team and teamwork,” she said. “From movement and gestures as they practice to the words they choose, they maneuver through competition, affection and fear…together and as individuals.”
The playwright behind “The Wolves” also became the inspiration for the decision to perform the drama. Jeffers explained the choice outside the CSAS gym.
“We try and choose productions from a spectrum of different writers… men, women, and other minorities,” she said. “If we chose plays written by one group, we would just be doing the same play over and over.”
The play’s characters, known only by the numbers on their jerseys, shed light on the everyday struggles of young women in sports. Each girl deals with their own issues including social anxiety, perfectionism, young love, and fear of inadequacy. Programs given to the audience give a summary of the importance of portraying these issues without hesitancy:
“The opinions and ideas of women are regularly talked over and shuffled about instead of listened to or considered,” it reads. “This is the reality for a lot of women in today’s world. In this play, the world outside… is looming in the parking lot. Inside… this is a place of safety for some girls, and a place of escape and challenge for others.”
UTC’s performance of “The Wolves”, according to Jeffers, is a good start to the theater company’s season as it addresses real world issues up front and opens the doors for future performances. The play’s portrayal of friendship parallels the efforts of the actors, stage hands, technicians, directors, and supporters of the UTC Theater Company. As the young athletes say before one of their games: “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
The UTC Theater Company’s next performance, Art by Yasmina Reza, will open Nov. 20. More information about future performances and tickets can be found online at www.utc.edu/theater/productions or by visiting utctheaterco.com.