This show starts with a lot of promise. The acting is great, the writing seems to develop a cool, interweaving storyline, and the plot is engaging. When the house lights came up at the end of the first act I was genuinely encouraged and excited to see where the second act would take me. Unfortunately, the subsequent scenes made little sense and barely connected to the first act. New actors were introduced and the show became much more expressionistic as compared to the narrative story that was previously presented. This is a shame, because I really enjoyed the first act.
Wolves focuses on Caleb (Josh Tyson) and Kay (Elizabeth A. Davis), a boyfriend and girlfriend who are working through a tough time in their relationship. These two characters have a great dynamic. The story interweaves moments in a car when they are alone with moments at a party earlier that evening, surrounded by other guests. The party scenes are a lot of fun to watch as Caleb and Kay find themselves in uncomfortable situations with the other partygoers. On the ride home from the party, Caleb hits a wolf. Kay insists he must kill off the wolf. Of course, this tension leads to more conflict as the truth about each others' feelings comes out. The wolf is a catalyst for these moments of honesty. It brings the first act to a nice conclusion; I wanted to know what would happen next with these characters.
Then Act II begins. Suddenly, the show introduces the audience to two completely new characters: a brother and sister who are in the woods drinking...at least, the brother is drinking. It is suggested that there is a loose connection between these characters and Caleb, but I didn’t quite get the relationship. The scene itself is fine, but nowhere near as engaging as the first act and I was waiting for the relevance of this scene in relation to the drama previously exposed. Clarity never came. Instead, there is a dream sequence involving another wolf in which I'm not quite clear of the end.
The final scene brings Caleb back, but I was again confused on the relationship to everyone and how this fit into the show. It almost seemed like it could have been from a different play. Wolves does consider itself a play in three parts, and I guess it should be taken as that – three independent scenes. With that structure, I say the first part is clearly the the most engaging and the other two are not as strong.
Wolves left me unsatisfied, as it was confusing on the whole. I heard a lot of my fellow audience members comment similarly after the show was over. It is not a complete loss, however. The simple production value is quite nice and there is some high quality acting and theater work taking place. It unfortunately just didn't work for me as a whole.
(Wolves plays at 59E59, 59 East 59th Street between Park and Madison Avenues, through August 21st. Performances are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 pm, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:30pm and Sunday at 3:30pm. Tickets are $18 and $10 on Wednesdays. Tickets are available at ticketcentral.com or by calling 212.279.4200.)