a note from Nell Bang-Jensen

In its simplest form, The Wolves is a play about gathering. We meet nine young soccer players over the course of six weeks as they share one physical space. The only constant, as they navigate the chaos of their high school worlds, is their return to the field each Saturday.

I’ve spent much of the last eight months thinking about shared space.  There is a painful irony in directing a piece about gathering at a time when we are unable to do so. Our own physical spaces—in this case theaters, not soccer fields–are closed to us.

The pandemic has made me acutely aware, however, that physical space is only one aspect of the formation of community. Many families are talking on the phone more than ever before, neighbors are dropping off food at each other’s houses, and many Philadelphians are thinking about essential workers in our city in ways they never have before.

While it is tempting to believe that the young women in The Wolves were brought together by the physical space of the soccer field, in truth, they were brought together by small kindnesses and shared determination. They are brought together in their desire to win, their ferocity, their empathy, and ultimately, in their resilience.

The Wolves explores the formation of community, at a time when so many of us feel isolated. The play, and our way of making it, gives me hope that community can transcend our physical spaces.  More than twenty people worked on this play, all in our own homes, persevering despite unpredictable wi-fi, interruptions from pets, and the occasional siren in the background.  We were never in the same physical space, but like the characters we meet here, we were on the same team.

The process has shown me that it was never the physical spaces themselves that created community; it was up to us all along.