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Commissioned by the Coterie Theatre, Kansas City, MO.
Published in American Theatre, Playscript Series, Theatre Communications Group, Nov. 2000
The Wrestling Season tackles subject matter seldom addressed but vital to youth and their families: the search for identity and the peer pressure that accompanies it. Using only the setting of a wrestling mat, eight young people struggle with the destructive power of rumors and how others see them. This is Matt's year to excel on his high school wrestling team, but innuendo about his friendship with Luke causes Matt to question himself and his priorities. Kori wants to be accepted for who she is, not how she looks. Melanie copes with a reputation she cannot grow beyond. Jolt and Heather ultimately regret having too much too soon and Nichole has so little self esteem that she agrees with everyone. The story is overseen by the Referee, who comments on the action from inside and outside the drama with hand signals and commands. Using images , movement and sound, cast members function as a chorus and as individual characters whose stories are interwoven to create a theatrical event that challenges and reveals their search for identity.
Cast: 4 women, 4 men, 1 either man or woman
Photos curtesy of The Coterie Theatre
Thoughts on Controversial Topics
"I am often asked how playwrights can approach writing scripts that explore territory likely to be considered controversial. If you know (or suspect) your play will raise some controversy it’s okay to be worried or even afraid but don’t let that stop you. If the work lives in the authentic world of young adults, if you’ve done your homework and if you truly care about issues that challenge young adults, that’s what’s important. It helps to be willing to write a play that might be difficult to produce. When I wrote The Wrestling Season, I thought no one would understand it, like it, or produce it. I wrote it because I cared deeply about the ideas and characters and I was driven to write the story. When that passion is present, trust it. The road may be long but it will be worth the journey.
Disclose, disclose, disclose. When presenting a play with challenging issues, it is crucial to reveal ahead of production any content that may be controversial. Do not be apologetic. Believe in the quality and worth of the work and you may be surprised.”
“Laurie Brooks’ The Wrestling Season [is] so energetically stylized that it defuses any hint of peachiness or soap opera.” ~ Time Magazine (11/15/04)
“The Wrestling Season asks only that that teenagers be allowed to feel their own way to an honest understanding of their own personal identities, and recognizes the emotional challenge as a great feat of sportsmanship itself. “ ~ Seattle Weekly (1/10/02)
“For one of the few times in theatre, audience members can truly feel as if they are voyeurs in the world before them.” ~ PitchWeekly,
Kansas City, MO (2/10/00)
Good theater ought to entertain, but sometimes it can teach a lesson or two at the same time. With The Wrestling Season, Mockingbird Theatre provides us an opportunity to get the best of both worlds. ~
Nashville Scene (4/28/04)
The exchanges, aside from blurring the line between reality and make-believe, make for some interesting interplay as viewers provide diverse views of what they’ve seen unfold on stage. And what they see isn’t simple. In that way, the play is remarkably similar to what we refer to as “real life.”
~ Robert Trussel, The Kansas City Star