WOLF PLAY: If you live among wolves you have to act like a wolf

Wolf Play on stage at Wilbury Theatre Group through April 7. (Photo by Erin X. Smithers.)

Wilbury Theatre Group presents Wolf Play, by Hansol Jung and directed by Marcel A. Mascaró. When an online adoption process goes sideways, the young boy caught in the middle launches himself into a lone wolf’s journey to find a pack he can call his own. South Korean playwright Jung has been hailed as one of the most imaginative storytellers in the field. She employs caustic dialogue in this deeply resonant new play, based on grim real-life experiences to tell the affecting story of trust, love, identity, and the families we choose and unchoose.

“We couldn’t be more excited to continue our 2023/24 Main Series season with a piece as exciting as Hansol Jung’s Wolf Play,” says Wilbury Theatre Group’s artistic director, Josh Short. “This play tackles very complex issues — rehoming of adopted children, transracial adoption, international adoption — with a beautifully sympathetic tone, allowing the audience to immerse themselves in this intricate story. With the support of the Susan Gonsalves Charitable Fund, and under the brilliant direction of Marcel and the incredible cast and creative team we’ve assembled for it, we can’t wait for our audiences to experience this unique style of storytelling that is Wolf Play.”


The cast of five argues as family will, although the lone Wolf keeps his pack mentality. Sara States brilliantly controls Wolf, a child-sized puppet, and dramatizes his emotive reactions as well as his speaking voice. States’ performance rebukes the shameful injustices within our social systems,  while reminding us Wolf’s just a child. His mothers are Robin portrayed by Beth Alianiello, and Ash portrayed by Ellen Zahniser. Robin’s itching brother, Ryan, is portrayed by Wilbury veteran Teddy Lytle. The Wolf’s father, Peter, is portrayed by Jeff Ararat, who also doubles as someone else (no spoilers here!). 

“I love this wolf pack Marcel put together,” says Lytle. “So excited! This play is so masterfully crafted, it’s been an honor to be a part of the wolf pack to bring it to life. I think I can speak for everyone when I say it’s a labor of love.” 

The production is as heartwarmingly comical as it is poignant, and imaginative to be sure. States/Wolf opens the play by saying, “Imagine I’m not an actor human. I am not what you think you see… I am the Wolf.” We hear these words echoed at the end, neatly tying it all together while reminding us all that life isn’t always fair, but we can hold onto our propensity to love, and the pack is stronger when it sticks together.

In joyful anticipation of the boy’s arrival, Robin fills the room with blue balloons. Ryan uses these to crudely draw attention to his genitals, reminiscent of a Shakespearean comedy emphasizing the codpiece. (Missed opportunity not to drop the words ‘blue balls,’ but I digress.)

With sound and light design by Andy Russ, and scenic design by Shanel Lashay Smith, audience members are treated to a bi-level set with unique illuminations and captivating visuals including puppetry, boxing, and shadow figures. 

Wolf Play runs through April 7. For more information, visit Performance time is approximately 90 minutes without intermission. Strong language.