March 07, 2024

A Puppet? A Wolf? Boxing? It’s ‘Wolf Play’!

Wolf Play, which opens March 8 on Lewis & Clark’s Main Stage, is directed by Suhaila Meera, assistant professor of theatre. With the help of a puppet, boxing moves, and wolf pack metaphors, the play explores issues of family, parenting, community, survival, and love.

A scene from Wolf Play, L&C's Main Stage production, spring 2024 A scene from Wolf Play, L&C's Main Stage production, spring 2024
Credit: Caleb Eldridge

This spring, the Lewis & Clark theatre department presents Wolf Play, by playwright Hansol Jung, on the Main Stage. According to the Seattle Times, the heart of the play is about “a group of people finding their pack and navigating the waters between the family they’re born into and the family they choose.”

Wolf Play, main stage production, spring 2024 Directed by Suhaila Meera, assistant professor of theatre, the play follows the story of a South Korean child adopted by an American man who then passes off the boy, but fights to get the child back when he discovers the new family is a queer couple. Caught in the middle, the child launches himself on a lone wolf’s journey to find a pack he can call his own.

The play is a good fit with Meera’s research interests. “My research broadly looks at child actors and how they play refugees, crossing the disciplines of performance studies, childhood studies, and critical refugee studies,” says Meera. “I’m also interested in how at times puppets are used to stand in for refugee children. I think it’ll be really fun to see how the puppet in Wolf Play communicates.”

Wolf Play has a cast and crew of more than 40 students. It features Ash (Ambrose Holland BA ’25), a southpaw boxer; Robin (Ruby Guzman BA ’25), Ash’s wife; Ryan (Josh Nguyen BA ’26), Robin’s brother; Peter (Matt Schrader-Patton BA ’27), the American father; and Wolf (Rusty Nozoe BA ’24), who the playwright describes as “a mix of the familiar with the terribly unexpected.”

“It has been really exciting being able to play Ash because they’re canonically nonbinary, and as a trans-nonbinary person myself, it was a very exciting experience to be cast in this role,” says Holland. “For quite some time, these roles didn’t exist for people like me. Now I get to showcase this role on the main stage in front of everyone, which is super exciting. I just hope it keeps opening opportunities for other trans people to find spaces in theatre.”

Wolf Play, main stage production, spring 2024 The character of Ash is also a boxer on the edge of making it big. Wolf Play’s cast and crew worked with Lewis & Clark’s Pugilism Club, as well as with boxing consultant Juli Crockett, throughout the production process to make the boxing scenes as realistic as possible.

“We went to a couple boxing club meetings and learned how to box. It’s just been a ton of fun,” says Nguyen. “The rehearsals have been grueling, but they make a difference.”

Wolf Play promises to be an unusually memorable theatre experience. Says Holland, “If you like family connections, if you like boxing, if you like having trans characters represented, if you like wolves, come to the show. We’re a pack. We stick together. That’s the whole thing—we fight for each other. It’s really just a show about bonding and family and fighting for that, so it’s really fun.”

Wolf Play will run March 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m., March 10 at 2 p.m., and March 14 to 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online or in person at the box office.

Theatre L&C Main Stage