'The Wolves': Jungle Theater’s hot ticket returns in January

The Wolves

The Wolves Dan Norman

“Having actual teams of young women who are soccer players come was amazing,” says Megan Burns, who plays #46 in the Jungle Theater’s production of The Wolves. “I like doing this play for girls who get to see themselves.”

Director Sarah Rasmussen knew Sarah DeLappe’s play was special, and successfully advocated for the Jungle to be granted one of the first productions outside of New York. “Being able to show the commitment we’ve made to gender parity, producing work by female playwrights, having better representation of women in stories,” she says, “I think that went a long way.”

The title of the play, which had its initial Jungle run this past spring, is also the moniker of a soccer team of adolescent girls. We meet them on the field during warmups, and the play involves enough actual soccer that the cast got coaching before the opening this past spring.

Fortunately, they’ve stayed limber, as the show will be returning soon: Starting January 29, the original cast will hit the Southern Theater for a reprise production. Staging a show outside of its Lyn-Lake home base is unusual for the Jungle—the result of facing the kind of problem any theater would like to have. “I love our space so much,” says Rasmussen, “but with about 150 seats, we have been bursting at the seams fairly often.”

Shelby Rose Richardson, who plays #25, says the play has sparked conversations spanning generations. “The thing I didn’t anticipate was that we would have so many women in the audience saying, ‘I wasn’t allowed to play sports when I was a teenager,’ because it was before Title IX.”

Burns remembers two older women who came away thinking the work illustrated how “vicious” girls can be to each other. “Your experience of the play has a lot to do with your own experience in your life,” Burns observes. “There’s still a lot of internalized misogyny that people carry. I would invite people to see these characters with new eyes.”

Much of the production’s success is due to its outstanding cast, a dream team of young women actors. “So often they’d all be going up against each other for one mediocre girlfriend or best friend part,” laughs Rasmussen. “It’s really been great to see them all on stage together.”

The cast members have continued to run lines together all year, and Burns says she’s excited about how the show has developed, as well as how the actors’ relationships have deepened. “We’re all really close,” she says. “I’m really excited for people who’ve seen it before to see it again, because it’s going to feel a lot richer. Maybe our soccer will even be a little better!”

The show had long waitlists for seats during its first run, a fact Rasmussen cites as a sign that the theater community is eager to embrace work centering on young women’s voices. “It felt like a watershed moment for me and, I think, for the Jungle, to say, ‘Okay, game on!’” 

Southern Theater
1420 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis
612-822-7063; January 29-February 17