Jung’s “Wolf Play” features talented cast, complex set

Ella Dunn / The Mossy Log

Hansol Jung’s “Wolf Play” was this year’s Spring mainstage performance by Lewis & Clark’s Theatre department. The show was directed by the newest addition to the department, Assistant Professor of Theatre Suhaila Meera. 

I consider myself a theatre enjoyer, so this may be a biased opinion, however, I believe this play is very emotionally raw and real in ways that anybody could relate to. It delves into flawed adoption systems, queer love, childhood trauma and what defines a family. These themes impacted me personally, but even if any given one of them is not a part of your life firsthand, this play still finds a way to resonate with every single audience member. I saw it three times. 

Jung’s writing is incredible; every single time I viewed the show, it had me in tears. The characters are extremely complex; they all have biases and flaws, desires and layered emotions. I found myself falling in love with each character in a different way, or at the very least understanding their motivations. This play is a window into what feels like a true story, full of awkward, realistic dialogue, tensions between family members and homophobic and racist stereotypes. It is easy to forget you are watching a play.

The show consists of a five-person cast, with an emphasis on the diverse casting the playwright intended. Meera took that emphasis to heart in her production. The main character, written to be East Asian, was portrayed in our production by Russel “Rusty” Nozoe ’24, an East Asian actor. The nonbinary boxer character was portrayed by a nonbinary actor, Ambrose Holland ’25. Needless to say, the casting choices stayed true to the intention of the writer, and the actors themselves were all extremely talented. With such a small cast, some of the actors described the challenge of creating a crowded atmosphere such as that of a boxing bout, where the energy and the stakes are high.

“(The boxing match) gets pretty chaotic, and there are only four of us onstage,” Ruby Guzman ’25 said in an interview with the LC Theatre Department. “So how do we fill up that space and make it feel like we’re really in a big stadium?” 

 Meera addressed this limitation through the use of sound effects as well as the choices of the actors — the ways they embodied the space and the volume of their voices — matching the situation in very convincing ways.

Another masterful touch was the construction of the beautiful set. The majority of the stage was taken up by what one might consider a dollhouse set; it was constructed like a house, with individual rooms. However, like in a dollhouse, each room had a wall cut out to expose the interior to the audience. Not only did this provide a very solid understanding of the way the characters took up space on the stage, but it also was visually interesting. A challenge posed by the cutout construction was the visibility of the characters as they moved between rooms. This was combated by primarily selling tickets in the center of the auditorium where the best view was available, and specifying where there would be a partial view. The obstruction of full views at all times also added to the tension of the storyline.

The floor in front of the first row of seats was covered in fake grass, and the apron had a boxing ring painted on the floor. The boxing ring was a concern for me at first, as I thought it might take away from non-boxing scenes that happened on the apron, but I learned quickly that it is easy to forget the ring is there when it is not relevant. In one of the shows I attended I had a partial view seat. It was not ideal, but it also did not take away from the show in any way. The set was a wonderful production choice, and I hope to see similarly complex sets in future Fir Acres productions.

“Wolf Play” is one of those shows that genuinely changed my life. Jung’s characters find their way deep into the hearts of watchers, and the cast that was selected for this performance portrayed them so well. The show is no longer running, but be sure to keep an eye out for the LC mainstage shows next year!

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