REVIEW: Like Wolves

Like Wolves is a play about choice and regret. Closing out the GCTC’s 2012/2013 season (the last programmed by former Artistic Director Lise Ann Johnson), it is a world premiere written by local playwright, Rosa Laborde.

Should you see it?


Vera and Sam are getting on in years. On the eve of their 50th wedding anniversary, Sam surprises Vera with a trip to almost the exact spot they spent their honeymoon – only now it’s a state of the art retirement community in the heart of a technology cluster. Surprise #2: Sam plans on them staying. Vera, however, is longing to spend her golden years traveling the world.

REVIEW: Like Wolves, running at the GCTCLike Wolves is about the longing for the path not taken. Vera’s incredibly unhappy with how her life has gone and is finally ready to take action to live some of the experiences she’s missed out on. We also meet Sam and Vera’s two daughters in Like Wolves who are forced by the goings on in the play to evaluate their life choices, both retroactively and into the future.

Where Like Wolves thrives is as a comedy. It’s a very funny show with a lot of good laughs. The unfolding drama is also strong and keeps you invested in what’s going on. As was pointed out to me, it was “frank and brutal” and honest and the dramatic strength of that showed, both from the writing and from the truly stellar performances from the entire cast. (Including: Peter Froehlich, Nancy Beatty, and local superstar Alix Sideris.)

Where Like Wolves feels a little more unpolished is in its spiritual or poetic message. Those scenes/conversations, when they came up, always felt a little forced and maybe against the grain. That might partly be the reason the ending felt largely unsatisfying. It felt like there wanted to be an uplifting message (or, maybe, I just wanted it to want to have some kind of uplifting message that was never intended) but it was a real downer ending that didn’t leave much hope in any of the dangling story threads.

Part of the hopelessness from the ending may well come from the fact that nearly none of these characters are likable or sympathetic in any real way. There was nobody who drew me in and made me care much about what happened to them. The only character who was an exception to that was Uri, played by John Koensgen in truly fine fashion — but he didn’t have any forward story of his own to latch on to. And Carl. Carl wasn’t actually in the play, yet, after seeing his wife in action, he was the only person I felt sorry for when all was said and done. Nobody else had me “on side” or rooting for them at all.

Although it’s worth adding that the fact that the characters I disliked or hated (which was most of them) were able to evoke such a reaction from me was itself a testament to the performances and writing and your mileage will almost certainly vary.

But that’s just my opinion and I’d like to know what you thought. Were there any characters you felt particularly attached to? Or that you despised? Did the spiritual message do It for you? Tell me in the comments below. Let’s chat.

You have until June 23rd to see Like Wolves. For more information about the show, including video, photos, and link to other press, visit our preview article.

Allan Mackey

About Allan Mackey

Allan Mackey is editor-in-chief of Production Ottawa, which, really, is too fancy a title. He also acts as show producer for Should You See It, making sure you get your answer in just about two minutes every time. He writes stuff and occasionally turns that stuff into movies. Keep being awesome!