Fresh Eyes on WOLF PLAY, 1st Installation
WOLF PLAY by Hansol Jung began rehearsals this week -- an exciting development for this play that was commissioned in 2017 by Table|Room|Stage. The story, created and shared by the Wolf, centers around a young Korean boy (Jeenu) who was adopted by an American family (Peter Hunt) and later 're-homed' to a new family (Robin and Ash). Jeenu's arrival is poorly timed, coming at a time when Ash is intensely preparing for her professional boxing debut, coached by Robin's brother Ryan. Peter is shocked to learn that he's handing over his son to a lesbian couple and worries about him being raised without a male parent. Later, Peter begins to truly miss the boy and deeply regret his decision to give him up, and enlists Ryan to help him find a solution. The Wolf unfurls the events as young Jeenu tries to find his place while the adults struggle to define what a family can be. WOLF PLAY is a distinctively theatrical piece that explores vital issues about family, imagination and truth, weaving metaphor and puppetry seamlessly into realistic domestic scenes.
At the first rehearsal on Tuesday, February 12th, the creative team shared their inspirations and designs, followed by a reading of the play. Our Fresh Eyes volunteer, Martha Spence, joined us for the day, and shares her observations.
My general reaction was that I liked the play very much. I also felt there is already chemistry among the cast, and I think that bodes well for the final result.
The dialogue generally rang very true to me. The dialogue especially between Robin and Ash was grown-up, non-neurotic, couple talk. I feel like I hear a lot of dialogue between couples in plays and movies that I find juvenile, or just unrealistic. This seemed like dialogue real grown-ups would have.
The second thought I had was wondering if Ryan [Robin's brother and coach to Ash] is not only concerned, rightly or wrongly, about a little boy being raised without a male parent, but also about his -- Ryan’s -- displacement in the family structure. Almost like the older sibling’s feeling when the new baby comes home. Ryan is close with his sister, has been a friend/colleague/mentor to Ash, and now there’s another person taking their attention, and changing the way they relate to him. I wonder if part of his welcoming of Peter back as the parent of Jeenu is about getting this disrupter, Jeenu, out of the family, as well as concern over Jeenu’s upbringing. Since I didn’t hear in the script any loving connection between Ryan and Jeenu, Ryan’s concern about having a male parent seems a bit abstract, rather than being rooted in feeling connected to Jeenu. That’s why I wonder if his buy-in to Peter has at least those two elements.
That’s what went through my mind.