'The Wolf' by Actor/ Playwright Sean Huze makes its world premiere at the art/works Theatre, explores the question: Can a wolf ever live among the sheep?
The play opens on Father Lawrence (Damien Leake) standing at his altar, gathering strength through prayer, and through whiskey, to bury one of the Dallriva boys, yet another soldier killed in combat. Meanwhile, at Camp LaJune, Joey Dallriva (Sean Huze) is confined to a military psychiatric ward where his doctors try to determine if he is competent to face a court martial, stemming from atrocities he committed in Iraq. Joey gravitated to the unstable Kelly Pickett (Cameron Goodman), a female soldier who murdered the officer that raped her.
Recognizing each other are both damaged goods, and sick of the camp shrink (Blake Robbins) trying to fix something he can't possibly understand, the two escape to Joey's hometown, where he is determined to confront the man he blames for putting him on this path to becoming a wolf, a predator that can destroy and kill without remorse; namely Father Lawrence.
Once outside the controlled environment of the psych ward, Joey suffers from violent flashbacks and Kelly acts out on her every self-loathing, socio-pathic tendency. Despite the unwavering faith of his young sister Theresa (Vanessa Martinez), nor the assurances of redemption by Father Lawrence, Joe seems unable to stop his free fall into the damnation he thinks he deserves.
The play concluded with Randy Newman's 'Song for the Dead', a very nice touch. Davis Campbell's set design bravely makes the best use of a Black Box Space that I have seen in a long time. The lighting and sound design were used judiciously in concert to evoke character memories and other altered states.
The piece, directed by Rick Pagano, was well paced and the cast as a whole does a good job with this script that is dramatically heavy-handed at times. Huze's play makes great use of each character to represent very real and human themes that are both Red and Blue.
Once a sheep has become a wolf, can he/she ever live among the sheep again? Huze's play depicts Lawrence and Joe as two sides of the same coin: a soldier changed forever because of his experience with war.
Lawrence represent the man who knows there is redemption, and fights to believe that he is worthy of it everyday of his life since leaving the battle fields, whereas Joe represents the soldier that is permanently scarred believing his actions were unforgivable and there is no redemption, no fitting back in society after his tour in Iraq; no going back to being a sheep ever again. Each man must face his own demons, both internal and external, but reach very different outcomes.
Catherine Dallriva (Amy Moorman), the mother of the two soldiers, represents perhaps the most disturbing contradiction of all. She cries for and prays for and lights candles for her dead son, but has no compassion for the living son whose soul is morally wounded. Her pride at Joey's enlistment has utterly turned to shame at what he has become. The play explores the question of responsibility. Is one responsible for what they become when taking part or bearing witness to an atrocity? If not, then who is?
"The Wolf" is presented by The VetStage Foundation in association with Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America.
'The Wolf' runs 100 minutes with one intermission
Performances are Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays @ 8PM. Sundays @ 7PM
March 23rd through May 6th 2007
6569 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038
For reservations call (323) 960-5775 or visit www.plays411.com/THEWOLF