As the play opens, Jack encourages Ben to leave the apartment and to realize that good is possible in some of the guys he can meet. Jack goes to a bar, picks up a character named Wolf (Joe Sykes) and brings him back to the apartment. That is a mistake: Ben is insanely jealous of the new guy and his introduction into their lives brings chaos.
The openly gay Yockey has a long history with the Express. Now living in Los Angeles, he debuted his “Octopus” there back in 2008 and was an intern at the theater during “Beautiful Thing” (which starred Guterman and Crawford as well) before moving to New York to go to grad school, where he was – ironically – roommates with Guterman for a short period of time.
Yockey wrote the entire draft of “Wolves” over several late nights in a New Orleans hotel, he says.
Guterman calls Ben a character dealing with some heavy issues, including how to proceed with an ex after the romance fizzles.
“It’s a universal thing,” the actor says. “It’s a hard thing until gay men are older. We date a lot of people, and some we stay friends with and other we don’t, others we never see again.”
Ben and Jack were a good match while it lasted and became somewhat co-dependent, with Ben as someone who does not like being alone and Jack acting as a caretaker of sorts. The character of Wolf isn’t a monster but instead a normal guy dealing with his own loneliness trying to determine what Jack wants of him and unintentionally interfering.
The other character in “Wolves” is a narrator played by Kate Donadio, who Guterman says loses control of the action she is introducing.
Out lesbian Melissa Foulger, herself no stranger to working with the company, directs. Foulger and Yockey have been friends for a long time. She describes “Wolves” as a comedy/drama, a very dark version of “Little Red Riding Hood.”
She is a fan of Yockey’s work not just because of its stylish aspects – “there is always something visually interesting there, such as the water element in ‘Octopus’ – but also because of its timeliness in addressing issues pertinent in the gay community.
“It’s about loneliness and relationships, how we go about negotiating relationships and how the definition of social has changed,” Foulger says.