On Thursday 5 September 2019, Chronicle.lu sat in on the opening performance of the BGT English Theatre Company's latest production, Wolves Are Coming For You.
Written by Joel Horwood and directed by Tony Kingston, Wolves Are Coming For You showcases the talent of three local actresses: Hayley Dawson, Gina Millington and Céline Planata. These young ladies had their acting skills put to the test, as they play several very different characters, from an old farmer that appears to be going mad (Gina) to an 11-year-old dropout school girl who cries wolf (Hayley) and a social outcast who lives in the woods (Céline).
With a strong focus on narration and the narrator, Wolves Are Coming For You is set in a small village in present-day England. The story unfolds over a 24-hour period and begins and ends with narration from the three actresses, in a way that is reminiscent of campfire storytelling. It begins with Bea Lewis, a 70-something-year-old farmer, warning her daughter Anna, who has come to visit from the city, that she has seen a wolf. Scared for her livestock, Bea is certain of what she saw and ignores her daughter’s suggestion that she may have been mistaken.
News travels fast and soon the entire village is talking about the return of the wolf. Whilst some, such as local schoolteacher and the vicar’s wife Dee and police officer Harry Jones, try to dispel these rumours and keep everyone calm, many become convinced that someone has released the wolves. They start to turn on other, less trusted community members, namely Ferdy, an anti-social loner who lives in the woods, and Ida O’Connell, an 11-year-old schoolgirl from a disadvantaged family who is known for causing trouble. Indeed, young Ida evokes parallels with Aesop’s “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, as her constant lies mean no one believes her claims that the wolf has returned.
As the story progresses, most of the community gradually move away from this “us versus them” mindset towards one of more understanding and openness, as they work together to face the wolves awaiting them outside. Are there really wolves out there? Are they representative of some other external threat? That is left to the audience to decide.
Dressed all in black, Hayley, Gina and Célina made some impressively quick costume changes on stage as they even more impressively switched characters. Whilst the costumes certainly helped the audience determine who was who, it was the actresses’ raw talent that brought each of the different characters to life. As the story progresses, the characters undergo some profound changes and their relationships change significantly – a development that Hayley, Gina and Céline capture perfectly.
The story itself draws subtle parallels with current developments such as rising populism and blaming the “outsider” for one’s problems. And if these political undertones were not enough to resonate with viewers, the play literally gets audience members involved in the story: from holding props to being brought up to line dance with the characters, the audience becomes a part of this community rather than a mere spectator.
The opening performance of the play, which lasts around two hours including a 15-minute interval, ended with a huge, well-deserved applause for Hayley, Gina and Céline, who tirelessly worked on stage (no backstage for them to hide) to bring their characters, and more importantly their characters' stories, to life. And this they certainly did.
Wolves Are Coming For You continues with performances on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and evening at the International School Luxembourg (36 Boulevard Pierre Dupong, 1430 Luxembourg). Tickets are still available for the Saturday afternoon performance (14:30) and cost €15 (students €8). To reserve a spot, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.