Payne keeps his audience from jumping ahead to any particular conclusion by deploying a second (bigger, metatheatrical) frame around Karma’s story, one in which the house lights keep coming up and we are rendered, without a choice, visible – to the actors, to the audience, and (most disturbingly) to ourselves.
If male artists were to spend the rest of their lives critiquing–as directly as this play critiques–the patriarchal authority of the Western canon, they would never run out of material.
The journey of stepping outside to see this play felt like seeing this play itself. It is a bullseye, thrown from very near the bullseye.
DeLappe presents us with a wholly updated picture of youth, in which social awareness has supplanted willful ignorance. The competitive and constantly shifting pecking order within their social hierarchy remains ever brutal, but the battleground is changed. This, along with the fact that we see nine (and eventually ten) women on stage, is what makes The Wolves a unique signpost within the world of new plays.