Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

First Advisor

Lisa Clair

Second Advisor

Caden Manson


This thesis is interested in the idea of speculative theater and the use of puppetry as a way to discuss transracial adoption, rehoming, and attachment trauma. I argue that Wolf Play is an embodiment of speculative theater that points to the sufferings and objectification of adopted children. Through a close reading of the Wolf Play text and an analysis of the New York-based staged productions, this will discuss speculative theater, the use of puppetry throughout the piece and the real-world dark underground market of selling children.

The first section of this paper will provide a brief overview of Wolf Play’s production history, including its earlier workshop productions through its recent run at Soho Repertory Theater and MCC Theater in New York City.

The second section will focus on the multiplicities of “play” and the use of speculative theater – a term I’m borrowing from literary term speculative fiction – as a narrative and theatrical tool within Wolf Play that comments on the use of imagination and the theatrical performance of play in the show.

The third section will directly put Wolf Play in conversation with the “Reuters Investigates – The Child Exchange”. Through research and textual analysis, this section will discuss the overlapping connections between the real-life events, and the theatrical fictive representation on stage.

The final section will discuss how Jeenu is presented as an object who is fighting to become a real boy, the movement techniques used in Wolf Play rehearsals, and the use of puppetry as a trauma response.