Two actors on stage embody over 25 characters in the new Scottish folk-inspired musical Islander, coming to our Leo K. stage this weekend! Get to know some of the inhabitants of the fictional island of Kinnan and the Fisherfolk who arrive.
Eilidh (“AY-lee”): A 15-year-old girl who is the youngest inhabitant of the tiny Scottish island of Kinnan. She lives with her grandmother (“Gran”) in a cottage but spends most of her time alone as her mother Camrie (“Mum”) moved to the “Bigland.” The play begins with Eilidh spotting a whale on the beach struggling to breathe. Throughout the play, she struggles with the possibility of the whole population of the island resettling to the Mainland. One day, she meets a mysterious stranger, Arran, on the beach, and myth and reality collide.
Arran: A 16-year-old who is a Fisherfolk and apprentice whale shepherd from Setasea. Arran explains how her family follows the migration of the whales, travels with the currents, and follows their tails. With sun-red hair and different-colored eyes, she makes an impression on Eilidh when she ends up on Kinnan’s shore. When Arran appears on the beach, she says she is sick of the ground and wants to go home. However, she believes she can’t go home, because of a grave mistake she made regarding a baby calf named Arna.
Arna: A whale calf who ends up on the shore of Kinnan.
Camrie (“Mum”): Eilidh’s mom. After she left the island of Kinnan, the island’s only school shut down as she was the last teacher left. Camrie lives on the Mainland so she can continue working as a teacher, and wishes Eilidh was more grateful for her sacrifices in moving away. Throughout the play, she tries reconnecting with Eilidh to patch up their strained relationship.
Gran/Margo: Kinnan’s oldest inhabitant at 83 years old. She has taken care of Eilidh since her mother left for the Mainland. Gran constantly plays pranks on Eilidh by playing dead. Gran does not want the “Biglanders” to take over the island as they don’t appreciate the beauty of the wildlife or the culture.
Jenny: A 31-year-old cetologist (a “whalewatcher”; an expert in cetology, also known as whalelore, the branch of marine mammal science that studies whales, dolphins, and porpoises in the scientific order Cetacea) from the Mainland. She moved to Kinnan six months ago, fights for the wildlife, and views the island as a paradise. After the beached whale incident, she makes it her mission to find the rest of the pod and deter them from the bay to protect them. Other than the out-of-service ferry, Jenny also has the only boat that can go to the Mainland.
- Paul: A Kinnan newsagent who is married to Steve. Most importantly, he lost his garden gnome. Have you seen it?
- Garden Gnome: A yellow and green good luck charm with a waistcoat. He left Agatha, his wife garden gnome, behind. If you’ve seen him, let Paul know!
- Ivan: Owner of the island bed and breakfast. He reminisces about the past when business was booming twenty years ago. Ivan wants the “Bigland” to keep their promise about investing in Kinnan versus giving them new homes on the Mainland.
- Jean: The last farmer on the island. He shares that it’s been the worst year so far. Jean votes to leave the island as he can’t compete with the big farms on the Mainland.
- Breagha (“BRAY-uh”): Unemployed and 41 weeks (about nine and a half months) pregnant. Breagha is worried if she stays on the island there will be no future for her baby. She sees Kinnan as home and is saddened at the prospect of leaving.
- Bill: A retired crossing guard. He is okay with staying on the island in its current situation.
- Annie: Votes to evacuate from the island. She has lived on the island for only half a year.
- Steve: Married to Paul. He wants the “Bigland” to invest in the island.
- Bob, Jonko, Peg, Andy, Kit, Maggie, Sue, Ronnie, and Olivia: Kinnanfolk who vote to leave the island.
Curious about how two actors can create a whole chorus of characters live on stage? Check out our post on looping technology. Then experience the magic for yourself in Islander, running through November 19, 2023 in the Leo K. Theater.