Tag Archives: Connor Kelly-Eiding


In Sarah DeLappe‘s THE WOLVES, we listen in on a girls’ soccer team as they go through their pregame stretch and practice sessions, trading high school gossip, snark about their education (“Why would you, like, watch a documentary?”), and disdain for their alcoholic coach—a rapid-fire, scattershot mix of earnest support and toxic insult.

During the play’s first half, DeLappe—who is still in her twenties, and for whom teenspeak is clearly a love/hate proposition—does not cut her subjects any slack. The girls tie themselves into so many careless, clueless verbal knots that THE WOLVES might initially be mistaken for an anti-Millennial tract. But the streams of quotidian wordplay that link the girls soon work a similar magic on the audience: moment by resonant moment, we are bound in the instant.

Near the end of the piece, tragedy—unforeseen and, as the girls point out, totally avoidable—strikes the team, after which they reunite for one more game. The furious updates and competitive status checks give way to an elegiac mood of reflection. Losing none of their individuality, the girls find their emotional footing in the group. “We are the Wolves!,” they jump and cheer, and we are together.

The excellent cast—directed by Alana Dietze—perfectly captures the arrogance and awkwardness of adolescence. This Los Angeles premiere production of THE WOLVES—a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize—will be on the boards for another month.


Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays at 8 pm.

Sundays at 4 pm.

Through May 6.

Echo Theater Company

Atwater Village Theatre

3269 Casitas Avenue, Los Angeles.

From top: Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson (left), team captain Connor Kelly-Eiding, and Jacqueline Besson in The Wolves; Besson; Kelly-Eiding and Makeda Declet; Ellen Neary (left), Katherine CronynDonna Zadeh, and Minzi; Neary, Zadeh, Caitlin Zambito, Minzi, Declet, Johnson; Neary and Zambito; Zambito. Photographs by Darrett Sanders.


“How do you defend yourself? Is it what you say or how you say it?” — ACTUALLY, by Anna Ziegler

In two major dramas on two Westside stages, a group of contemporary American girls—17, 18, 19 years old—navigate a minefield of casual sadism and, even worse, insidious apathy, mostly at the hands of their peers.

In Ruby Rae Spiegel’s brutal, brilliant DRY LAND—an Echo Theater production at the Kirk Douglas, directed by Alana Dietze—high-school swimmer Ester (Connor Kelly-Eiding) is so desperate for love and friendship that when her pregnant teammate Amy (Teagan Rose) orders her to repeatedly punch her in the stomach to induce an miscarriage, Ester willingly obliges. Amy—strong, magnetic, self-destructive, and deeply ashamed of her own intelligence—finds her strength by being her worst self, and beneath her confident mask lies a deep well of shame.

“My mom told me I was ‘pretty enough.’ Which probably 100% of shrinks would say explains everything.” — ACTUALLY

Anna Ziegler’s ACTUALLY (directed by Tyne Rafaeli at the Geffen Playhouse) draws on the same theme: the outwardly impressive versus the earnestly impressed.

Princeton freshman Tom (Jerry MacKinnon) is hot, African–American, loves Mozart, and is a self-proclaimed player (all plot points). His classmate Amber (Samantha Ressler) is Jewish, analytical, and a bit of a “mouse” (also plot points). They meet, talk, and go on ice cream dates, but once they partake in their university’s party culture, a disastrous night is quickly followed by Tom being called before an adjudicatory panel, charged with rape.

Both parties were drinking to excess on the night in question. In a shattering monologue near the end of the play, Amber makes clear that what hurt most during their night of rough, blackout sex was not the physical pain she was feeling, but the fact that her partner— unhearing, unseeing, yet right on top of her—had vanished.


DRY LAND, the third in a series of three Block Party plays, through May 21.

KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE, 9820 Washington Boulevard, Culver City.



ACTUALLY, through June 11.



Teagan Rose and Connor Kelly-Eiding in The Echo Theater Company production of Dry Land Photograph by Craig Schwartz © 2017 Craig Schwartz Image credit: Kirk Douglas Theatre/CTG Media

Teagan Rose and Connor Kelly-Eiding in The Echo Theater Company production of Dry Land. Photograph by Craig Schwartz
© 2017 Craig Schwartz
Image credit: Kirk Douglas Theatre/CTG Media