Theater Review: Wolf at the Door

November 2, 2018
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From left, Alexandra Lemus, Liz Zazzi, Desiree Pinol and Oscar A.L. Cabrera star in “Wolf at the Door” at New Jersey Repertory Theater through Nov. 18. Photo courtesy New Jersey Repertory Company

By Gretchen Van Benthuysen |

In a remote part of Mexico a bride of less than a year is about to give birth. Her handsome husband, she has discovered, is not the kind, caring man she thought. As a matter of fact, she’s gone into labor four weeks early because he slammed her into a wall the night before.

Inspired by Latino folklore, the world premiere of Marisela Treviño Orta’s 90-minute play “Wolf at the Door” reveals the tale of a man who is considered to be one son too many. Unloved and rejected by his father, he fails to see nor understand he has married a woman who loves and accepts him.

Or at least she once did. Now that Septimo (Oscar A. L. Cabrera) possesses the only daughter of a wealthy man, his true demeanor is revealed and his wife Isadora (Desiree Pinol) and her loyal childhood nurse Rocio (Liz Zazzi) live in fear of him.

Their savior – a wolf – appears in the form of the naked, heavily pregnant Yolot (Alexandra Lemus) during the night of a full moon. Her son will replace Isadora’s still-born son. They will find the strength to fight back. But, of course, it won’t be that easy.

The world premiere play, that runs through Nov. 18 at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, is under the direction of Daniel Jáquez. It opens with a voice that seemingly presents the characters in Spanish and, during emotional moments, they briefly speak in Spanish. As always, the stage birthing scenes are quick, with little fuss, no afterbirth and miraculous recoveries. The actors turn in fine performances. The set design by Jessica Parks and lighting design by Jill Nagle are outstanding.

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The performance space is small here, yet the set felt expansive, not at all cramped. And the robust full moon in the distance was like a silent fifth character.

Performances are Thursdays through Sundays through Nov. 18 at the New Jersey Repertor y Company, 179 Broadway, Long Branch. Tickets $50. For more information, call 732-229-3166 or visit njrep.org.

Gretchen C. Van Benthuysen’s theater news and reviews can be found on theatercues.com.


This article was first published in the Nov. 1-7, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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