The dissolution of relationships is the theme that runs throughout Delaney Britt Brewer’s Wolves, being presented by Kids with Guns at 59E59 Theaters. However, the playwright hasn’t found enough interesting things to say on the subject to warrant the play’s two-act structure.
Presented as a triptych of interconnected stories, the first and most interesting involves Caleb (Josh Tyson) and Kay (Elizabeth A. Davis) whose three-year relationship reaches a crisis point after they hit a wolf (Vikki Vasiliki Eugenis) with their car. Kay wants Caleb to kill the bleeding creature and put it out of its misery, but Caleb doesn’t want to do any such thing. Their argument about the wolf causes them to talk frankly about their relationship and where it’s going.
Interspersed with these roadside scenes are flashbacks to earlier in the night when the two of them were at a New Year’s Eve party. Among the guests are Roslyn (Sarah Baskin) and her probably gay husband Pierce (Richard Saudek), as well as the young Jenny (Megan Tusing), who gets Caleb high on Ecstasy. The conversations that Caleb and Kay have with these different individuals give a more multi-dimensional view of the problems that they’re having.
Tyson has a neurotic charm, and brings a welcome humor to the proceedings, although he occasionally indicates his intentions a little too obviously. Davis conveys Kay’s shrill qualities effectively, but could use a little more depth in her portrayal. Baskin isn’t really given enough material to make much of an impression, but both Saudek and Tusing are rather delightful in their supporting roles.
Following the intermission, the action focuses on Julie (Megan Hart) and her brother Elliot (Doug Roland), who are sitting on the beach of a lake, waiting until Midnight to dispose of their recently deceased mother’s ashes. Julie is still hurting from a breakup with her girlfriend Sasha (Julie Fitzpatrick), while Elliot is enamored of a girl who is in his science fiction book club. The final playlet returns to Caleb, who is now married to Sasha. Their union has produced a daughter (played by Eugenis) — but doesn’t seem to have brought either happiness.
Neither of these two pieces amount to much of substance. They explore grief, regret, and betrayal, but mostly on a superficial level. Roland has a nice energy as the drunken brother, but his character — like all the others in this second act — aren’t developed sufficiently. Probably the most fleshed out character is Julie, but Hart’s portrayal is fairly one-note.
Wolves does feature a striking and space-efficient set design by Maruti Evans. A large white circle serves as the main playing area, with another circular structure up above that has white branches jutting out at the top. Director Mike Klar infuses a few whimsical touches into the production, such as Caleb holding a toy car to convey that he’s driving. However, Klar hasn’t fully solved the problem of the in-the-round staging, particularly at the beginning of the play which involves a scene that has both the actors in it standing still with their backs to a section of the audience for a rather long stretch of time.