Cleats. Corner Kicks. Conversations About Global Genocide.

By Annie Sears

The cast of the A.C.T. Young Conservatory 2019 production of The Wolves, with team captain played by Citlali Perez in front. Photo by Beryl Baker.

The nine players on soccer team The Wolves are warming up for their big game, and the pivots in their conversation are just as quick as their sprints up and down the field. Sarah DeLappe’s script (which our Young Conservatory actors will perform April 17–20) offers a glimpse into the real-life conversations high school girls share as they figure out what it means to be “a young woman in the multi-dimensional and complex world of today,” says actor Clara Dossetter (third from the left in the above photo). Dossetter is a high school senior who has been involved in the YC for “as long as I can remember,” including performing in The Life to Come in 2017. “The girls’ experience in the script reminds me a lot of my experience coming into my own as a woman surrounded by other young women.”

These characters talk about things high school girls really talk about, and they talk about them the way real high school girls actually talk. “In The Wolves, discussions about genocide happen next to talk about tampons or boys or sleepovers because that’s exactly what it’s like,” says Dossetter. “We’re forced to reconcile the gap between the immediate and the ‘far away’ things which may not impact us directly, but certainly pertain to us as we begin developing our personal worldviews.”

These conversations overlap. Some comments get ignored. Sentences are cut short, because why would you finish if everyone already knows what you mean? “Not all writing has to be pretty,” says actor Citlali Perez, who has also performed in our productions of Black Butterflies (2017) and Begets: The Fall of High School Ronin (2018). “It doesn’t have to revolve around one singular thing because that wouldn’t be human. DeLappe’s diction is so interesting. It’s the first play I’ve read that has line breaks like it does, and I absolutely love the way it’s written.”

Tosh Harris Santiago and Citlali Perez in the YC production of Begets: The Fall of High School Ronin (2018). Photo by Jay Yamada.

Tyla Cann, Citlali Perez, and Tiana Bishop in Black Butterflies, A.C.T.'s 2017 Collaborative Youth Arts Project. Photo by Sara Morales.

Characters in The Wolves are preparing for a college showcase tournament, and some actors are looking forward to their post–high school plans as well. Perez is currently a high school junior, and she hopes to go to an arts conservatory on the east coast to become a theater teacher. Dossetter will attend the University of Michigan next year to pursue her BFA in acting. “The YC has helped me gain confidence heading in to college,” says Dossetter. “The special thing about the YC is that it treats its shows professionally and the expectations are high, which not only makes the final product great, but also builds mature, professional, and capable young actors in the process.”

“It’s been great to be challenged here,” adds Perez. “If something doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. I’m always wanting to learn and grow, and I'm grateful that the YC program has helped me grow as an actor.

Catch these ladies in action, and get your tickets for The Wolves, running April 17–20 in The Rueff at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater. And keep your eye out for other opportunities with our Young Conservatory, including our summer theater intensives. Click here to learn more.

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