The Wolves: “Good art is disruptive.”

27 Oct 2017
ByClare Mottola, Chair, Fieldston Theatre and Dance Department

Good art is disruptive. It gives audiences a chance to bristle. It asks us to leave behind comfort and willingly walk into challenges that exist both within and around us. It interrupts our everyday and calls us to think, or rethink, all as it has seemed to be. It charges us to see, to listen, and to hear differently. I often feel like DeLappe's The Wolves, this year's fall drama, arrived, like any great work of art, at exactly the right time, doing exactly what any great work of art should do. In an historical moment when we seem to be tumbling between contrasting worlds — one where the absence of justice and equity are heralded and one replete with a battle cry more glorious than one could ever have predicted would score this moment — DeLappe's women arrive geared up and ready for battle.

How can it be that a story about a group of young women feels it's somehow arriving at just the right time? And how can it be that this story is somehow disruptive? Is it because we are being asked to leave behind comfort and willingly walk into challenges that exist both within and around us? Does the piece interrupt our everyday and call us to think, or rethink, all as it has seemed to be? Are we called to see, listen, and hear differently? A piece of theatre centralizing women: strong, smart, engaged, funny, bold, and kind; women fighting, raging, scared, betraying, aggrieved; women at its center, its edges, in its guts, and in its battle cry; women telling their own stories. This is somehow a "disruptive" story. Somehow, much to my horror, these stories, in both authorship and narrative, still remain in the slow lane beside those by men, about men, and, all too often, for men. Thus The Wolves becomes a unique opportunity, a work of art shifting the center, a lending of voice to voiceless, and, quite simply, an act of disruption.

This artistic space — disrupting the male narrative, the male gaze, and, in some cases, the expectations — becomes a totem. It does become, in and of itself, a kind of war cry, drawing us in and repelling us simultaneously. It reminds us as much as it opens us. It embodies and it distances. It dares us to come in and it dares us to stay away. Yet it also, for some, simply voices what we've known, nay lived, all along, among the recesses and back halls of someone else's narrative, someone else's centralized tale, all while brimming with our glorious contradictions. This story, this moment, asks us to hold all the contradictions that make any great work of art great. Most of all, it places us all front and center, daring us to listen, to hear, to see, to think, not regardless of whose story it is, but because of whose story it is.

The Wolves arrives at exactly the right time, in an historical moment when we seem to be tumbling between contrasting worlds of purveyors of inequity facing the warriors with the courage to fight. For many of us, our internal landscape wrestles with an external one that has become a terrifying page-turner. But could it be that we may be at just the right time to drown it out with our rallying troops and the march of our boots, ready for the daily battle of this thing called living, all while hoping today may be the day where the disruption takes hold, the listening begins, and the seeing is as simple as being seen.