The stage will be blocked off from the audience just in case anything goes wrong, while the wolves have their own dressing room to sleep in – and a sectioned-off area in the car park so they can go outside.
They will be on stage with a naked female dancer – who wears fake male genitals – and feeds the animals raw meat as part of the story of Narcisses.
“The animals will appear for just five minutes in the second half of the play,” Angela Vucko, spokeswoman for Tanzhaus NRW in Düsseldorf told The Local.
“The wolves represent the relationship between art and nature, which is not a new theme in German culture.”
She said there was minimal stress for the wolves. “Their scene is very meditative and peaceful,” she said, adding that the wolves had been featuring in plays since they were cubs.
While the wolves will be accompanied by experts, Tanzhaus NRW’s decision to host the production, developed by respected modern dance choreographer Coraline Lamaison, has been met with criticism from German animal rights’ activists.
“Now that nudity and sexuality don’t seem to be able to shock audiences, animals are increasingly being called upon to do so,” Marion Dudla, spokeswoman for German animal rights’ group Tierschützverbund told Die Welt newspaper.
“We regard Lamaison’s work very highly,” said Vucko adding that the dance house spent a long time considering whether to go ahead with the performance. In the end, they decided that having the animals on stage was part of Lamaison’s artistic vision.
She stressed that Tanzhaus NRW would “be looking after the animals diligently,” and had informed the Düsseldorf veterinarian association which will be doing a check to make sure everything is in order for the show to go ahead in late October.
German law states than an animal cannot be involved in a play or film which would involve it sustaining any kind of injury.