Theater at AU: The Wolves

BY: ROMAN HABIBZAI

After months of preparation, American University students perform “The Wolves,” a play about high school soccer players coming of age.

“The Wolves,” directed by Professor Colleen Sullivan, takes on a number of powerful coming-of-age themes, including mental health, friendship, loss, and love. AU’s Department of Performing Arts (DPA) presented “The Wolves” from Thursday, Feb. 14-16, and cast members, Edmée Faal and Fabiola Clemente talk about their experiences in an all-female cast, below:

“The Wolves” has just been a very atypical experience for me in theater,” said Edmée Faal, sophomore at American University. “I have never had an experience where it’s an all female cast. I’ve never had an experience where there is more than just one or two POC. Also, it’s a show that is not just emotionally challenging but also physically challenging at the same time. It really put us in a different place in theater than I ever have been before, which is why I think it was so emotional for us to perform and conclude it.”

Faal’s previous performances include The Crucible and Hamlet. She is very involved at AU as Class Council President, assistant stage manager, teaching assistant, and AUx peer facilitator.

“The two biggest takeaways for me was strength and resilience. Pushing ourselves and boundaries,” says Faal.

Faal plays #0, a high school goalie dealing with anxiety both on and off the field. When she initially read the script, Faal did not connect with player #0.

“Now that we have gone through the whole process, I could never see myself as anyone except for #0,” says Faal. “We all connected very deeply to our characters in a way that I haven’t experienced before in some other roles that I’ve played.”

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After a challenging few months, Fabiola Clemente, junior at AU, and Edmée Faal share some lessons they have learned.

“Personally, the balancing of this show with everything else in my life was a tremendous struggle for me and it deeply affected my health,” says Clemente, who was challenged by what was in store this semester, but was able to stay committed to her work, after returning from abroad in London.

Clemente noticed parallels between her character as #2 and her life in D.C. after London.

“This show reinforced all the health problems I already had because I was so dedicated to making the character and the show so amazing,” says Clemente. “I think had I not been #2 in this show it would’ve been a completely different experience for me. I couldn’t have been any other character.”

The Wolves consists of dynamic characters, each with their own unique set of life experiences.

“As I mentioned to Colleen right when she casted everyone, I told her I was #2 in high school. I was innocent. I was unlucky. I was kind. I was skinny. That was me,” says Clemente. Both Faal and Clemente were impressed with director Sullivan’s ability to cast rightfully.  

“#2 opened my eyes. I feel like a different person after knowing #2,” says Clemente.

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The cast had a lot of freedom to make decisions, which was a unique privilege that allowed for the formation of a team bond witnessed by the audience. “At one point we were teetering the line between appropriately giving each other suggestions and giving acting notes, directing each other in scenes, and different things like that,” said Faal on challenges she faced with the unique freedom.

Faal’s favorite scene is called Timeout, where she is on the stage alone performing physical exercises. “I made it to be such a monster in my head to do that scene and it was so difficult for me throughout the process to do that scene to get it to look like what I wanted it to.” Overcoming physicality, her biggest struggle as an actor, was a proud moment for Faal.

Clemente’s favorite scene is when she is on the stage alone and is binging on orange peel leftovers from the players. She discovers something new about herself every time she performed the scene. “It is just so invigorating for me every time I had to do it because it consumed me from the inside,” says Clemente. “Doing that takes up my whole body. I have no lines. I have nothing to do except for eat these bag of oranges.

Clemente says that the biggest take away for her is to serve the purpose of the show. “You’re here for a reason. You’re here for the audience, you’re here for your cast mates, your crew, absolutely everyone and yourself,” says Clemente.

For all characters in the show, so much happens to them but there is also so much strength and connection and resilience between all of them. “That’s why the whole last ‘we are the wolves’ chanting means so much. They’ve been through this journey individually and together, but they still came out on the other side and continued on. That was the biggest take away for me,” says Faal.

Faal is an assistant stage manager for the concert that Clemente is also stage managing called, DANCEWORKS: Fulcrum, AU’s annual Dance Program. If you missed The Wolves, stay tuned for more information about future shows, performances, and more involving the students of AU.

Check upcoming shows at AU such as “Carrie: The Musical” premiering next week.