The Wolves is one of most high-energy productions ever to grace the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Such a dynamic is bound to exert effects on the audience – effects that are very apparent to the actors given the theater’s intimate thrust setting. They are particularly aware of their impact at the curtain call, but in-performance responses also register. I asked Wolves actors to name the audience reaction they will remember most from the entire run.
Sometimes, it’s the most basic response that leaves a mark. Lizzy Jutila, who plays #00, said, “During my big scene I heard someone say, ‘Whoa.’ It was so simple yet it made me feel like I was doing something next-level.” At other times, the response can be both simple and suggestive. Paola Sanchez Abreu, who plays #25, remembered “the one time I came out with my shaved head and said, “I guess like Louise helped.” And someone in the audience audibly said, “Mmmmm!” I turned beet-red. It was awesome.”
The indelible response may involve a family member. Brenna Coates, who plays #7, said, “I will never forget when my older sister came to see the show. I locked eyes with her during the curtain call, and she was sobbing. It had been an entire childhood and early-adulthood of me feeling so much, and her always keeping it together. But there she was crying, beaming with love and admiration, and I wanted that moment to last forever.”
Waterworks from strangers can also flow across the footlights. Susannah Perkins, who plays #11, said, “There’s nothing like making eye contact during bows with an older woman in the front row who’s crying her eyes out.” (Apparently, this has happened quite often.) Tedra Millan, who plays #46, added, “As we were bowing after a show one night, I glanced up at an older man in the first row, hands by his sides, not clapping. I was initially offended, but then noticed that his eyes were wet and he was simply bewildered. It was incredibly moving to know that our ballet of teenage girls can affect even those who seemingly have nothing in common with our turfed world.”
The emotions got even more intense after a visit from a group of teenagers. Jenna Dioguardi, who plays #13, related: “There is a high school in the Bronx that recently did a production of The Wolves. They came to see us, and when we met them afterwards I felt a little like Justin Bieber. There was a lot of screaming and crying and the best part was they actually performed the first scene of the play for us. It was completely surreal. I felt like I was just that high-school-theater kid, coming into the city on the weekends and freaking out over young professional theater actors in cool plays. To be on the other side of that was immensely humbling. They were so full of talent and unbridled joy. It was completely pure and beautiful.”
Brendan Lemon is the editor of lemonwade.com.