Pulitzer Prize finalist play to open at Sul Ross

ALPINE — A unique coming-of-age play is opening this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Sul Ross State University.

“The Wolves” — a Pulitzer finalist play by Sarah DeLappe — tells the story of nine teenage girls, one soccer mom and their soccer team, the Wolves. The play is six scenes long, with each scene representing a different week of practice and play.

“The Wolves” isn’t just about soccer, though. “The play deals with loss of innocence as well,” director Marjorie Smith said.

She declined to elaborate, so as to not spoil the plot.

Smith, chair and assistant professor of Communication and Theater at Sul Ross University, was earlier this year looking for a play to do for the school’s fall season. She read “The Wolves,” a 2016 play that first premiered off-Broadway, and was enamored.

“Immediately I said, ‘I have to do this play,’” Smith told The Big Bend Sentinel. “It’s timely. It’s about these young women right on that very brink of adulthood.” It was “fractured” and “film-like” and starred an all-female cast of athletes — something Smith said she’d never seen before, though sports are a common trope in stories about men.

“There are war movies and football movies where it’s a group of guys coming of age, doing their thing, figuring it out,” Smith said. “These girls aren’t accessories. They are the heroes of the story.”

“They’re out for blood,” she said. “They’re athletes and warriors. They’re vulnerable, though. They have that human side to them.”

Putting on a play based entirely around soccer presented some challenges. First, the actors had to be comfortable around a soccer ball. Smith brought in a soccer coach and had them practice for hours every night.

Then there was the setting. Smith decided Sul Ross’s Marshall Auditorium was too big for the show, so she instead decided to hold the play in the school’s Motion Capture Sound Stage. It’s the first play to debut in the Sound Stage, which was built in 2015.

To set the mood, Smith set up bleachers for the audience and put down astroturf. “We bought lots and lots of astroturf,” she said.

The play is an hour and a half long and has no intermission. It has adult language and themes and may not be appropriate for children under 16, according to a news release.

The play runs weekends only, from Friday, November 8, until Sunday, November 17. Friday and Saturday showings are 7:30 p.m., while Sunday shows open at 2 p.m..

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors and children and free for anyone with a valid Sul Ross ID. Tickets can be purchased online, at www.sulross.edu/theatre, or over the phone, at 432-837-8218.