Of Women and Wolves is an original production created by Summer Sisters 2016. “[W]ritten by women [and] directed by women[,with] a cast of at least 50 percent women, and … as many women as technical workers and designers as possible,” Of Women & Wolves is a Sister Show to the 2016 Women’s Theatre Festival (WTF), which is running in the Triangle through the month of August.
In the first few moments, Of Women & Wolves appears disorganized as actors (all women) wander on stage, meet and greet audience members, begin to warm up individually, and then form into a common warmup that includes wolf howls and animalistic movements and posings. The women wind up in a huddled circle that breaks out into predatory slinkings, with several women dividing off and donning nun’s habits.
These nuns then proceed to mingle with the fur-bearing wolf-girls in what are dances of the sacred and profane, describing the tension between desires and disciplines, and then capture the wolves and herd them off to school. This is a story in six chapters, from the nun’s discovery and capture of them to their return to the forest, knowing what they need to know to form a new tribe, and then living happily ever after.
Nine of the Summer Sisters are performers, dancing, singing, and speaking lines, in a well-rehearsed, polished exposition of the fundamental freedom of womanhood and the social constraints that had shackled them for millennia. Co-directed by Rachel Klem, who also participated in the ensemble, and Carissa Johnson White, the show is snappy, funny, and has a meaningful message that entertains provocatively. The combined and solo voices were melodious and well presented, and the lyrics are clever.
Summer Sisters meet weekly during the summer to devise their annual production, which usually deals with women’s stories. Unfortunately, this fine show runs only one weekend; but we look forward to next year’s production.
Summer Sisters 2016 presents OF WOMEN & WOLVES at 8 p.m. Aug. 6 at Common Ground Theatre, 4815B Hillsborough Rd., Durham, North Carolina 27705.
TICKETS: $16.52 ($11.34 students and $13.41 seniors), including service fees.
BOX OFFICE: 919-384-7817 or http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2580297.
VENUE: http://www.cgtheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/cgtheatre, and https://twitter.com/CGTheatre919.
Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.