top of page

View From the Director’s Chair

By: Lila Huckelbridge ’24

Lila Huckelbridge '24

After spending her first three and a half years on O’Dowd’s stage, Lila Huckelbridge ’24 is trying out a new role in the Drama Department: student director of the winter production The Wolves. Lila’s directorial debut premiered February 8-11 in the Kelly Family and Erin Jaeb Black Box Theater, which opened in the Bishop John S. Cummins Center in 2022. Here Lila reflects on lessons learned and the opportunities she’s been given.

My first brush with the O’Dowd Drama Department was a preview of Godspell at Open House in 2019. As a prospective student, I remember leaving the James T. Bill ’55 Theater with a profound sense of wonder - at the costumes, the talent, and the overall cohesive nature of the performance. This ended up heavily factoring into my decision to attend O’Dowd, and I’ve spent the past three-and-a-half years here dedicated to the Drama Department.  

I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to grow my theater skills as director Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves. The Wolves is a powerful example of the genre of American Realism, which tells the story of nine teenage girls on an indoor soccer team, hyperfocusing on the conversations that occur during each game’s warm-up. From political and social justice debates to the latest high school gossip, the audience’s attention passes like a soccer ball between the constant chatter of the girls as pieces of a full story come to fruition.

What I think is so special about The Wolves is that it’s a real, unfiltered glimpse of what it’s like to be a teenage girl growing up in the US - under the sheltered, microcosmic lens of an indoor soccer pitch.

As the director, my goal was to create an authentic portrayal of the experiences of teenage girls, to have characters that people could see in themselves, their friends, their sisters, and their daughters. 

Full of humor, heartbreak, and empathy, it’s a very vulnerable type of performance for the actors and director alike. To intensify the intimacy and connection to the characters, I chose for the audience to sit right up against the turf, easily in the danger zone of any stray balls. Surrounding the cast on three sides, they are immediately immersed in the world of the play. The dialogue often splits, straying from typical, linear conversations - allowing for a different experience depending on where you sit and what conversations you pick up on. Due to the layout, there is little separation between the audience and the actors. This drives the emotional intensity up to a notch far harder to achieve in a more open space, as the audience can experience the actions and feelings of the actors from literally feet away.

Changing stage viewpoints and transitioning to director was an adjustment for me. I had to completely shift my perspective and account for each moving part in every scene, rather than just myself. I quickly learned to lean on MizzO’s 5 D’s - determination, drive, discipline, dedication, and desire - as guiding principles that should influence every choice made as an actor or director. 

I’m incredibly grateful for MizzO - without her tutelage I would never have been able to take the necessary steps to go from actor to director. Under her wing, I was able to step into this new role and learn its intricacies - everything from the casting process to the discipline required to direct my friends. But more than anything, I now have an even greater appreciation for how much blood, sweat, and tears the teachers and staff put into every production. Through the lessons learned and the experiences had, the way I approach theater - and life - has been irrevocably changed for the better.

The Wolves rehearsal


bottom of page