Wolf Play by Hansol Jung is an enthralling play about an off-the-record adoption, about children and parents and family, about a wolf and his pack. Presented by MCC Theater in collaboration with Ma-Yi Theater Company, Wolf Play just opened and is playing through March 19.
“The truth is a wobbly thing.”
In the opening monologue, before the lights have gone off, the eponymous wolf speaks directly to the audience. There is eye contact. People wriggle in their seats, or laugh, or stare back, whatever their natures be. The intimate space of the black box theater is used to its best advantage.
The wolf is our narrator who is also a young Korean boy, physically represented by a puppet and inventively animated. As the play begins, the boy, Peter Jr., is being dropped off by his adoptive father Peter at the house of a queer couple in San Francisco. This is a story of secondhand adoption. Peter Jr.’s first adoptive family had decided to give him up after giving birth to a biological child. Robin found their listing on a Yahoo! chat room and leaped at the chance. She awaits Peter Jr. with her brother Ryan. Her partner Ash, who is less than excited, arrives after the Peters.
The play has a frenzied pace as truths unfold. The boy is 6, not 3. Robin struggles with motherhood, Ash trains for their pro boxing debut, overlapping phone calls unfold simultaneously. Then Ash and the boy eat cereal together and we learn that his name is actually Jeenu. Quiet moments punctuate in breathtaking ways. And that is just the beginning.
The end is the end, and I won’t tell you what, but to say that Hansol Jung has a wonderful echo built in. It’s a way of writing that I often find to be unsuccessful and trite, but here, I found to be oh so beautiful.
Soho Rep’s Wolf Play is playing at MCC Theater (511 West 52nd St., New York, NY 10019) until March 19. Performances are Tues.-Sun. at 7:30pm and Sat.-Sun. at 2:30pm. Tickets begin at $49 and are currently available at mcctheater.org