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In one swift, intermissionless act, two actors embody more than two dozen characters to tell the story of Islander: A New Musical. The action (and character changes) move quickly, so the following synopsis may enhance your enjoyment of this magical journey. 

Before the action begins, two narrators sing of the legendary Farmfolk and Fisherfolk, who broke apart their home to create both Kinnan Island and the sea that surrounds it (“The Splitting of the Island”). Then, a radio announcer reminds listeners of the upcoming “Spikkin,” an all-island meeting to debate the government’s proposal to resettle the Kinnanfolk to the Scottish mainland.

Eilidh, the last teenager on Kinnan Island, discovers a whale calf on the beach and seems to communicate with it through song (“There Is A Whale”). She calls her mother, who lives on the mainland, to tell her about it, but the connection is poor and the two speak over each other (“Video Call”). As a helicopter takes the dead whale calf away, Eilidh asks Jenny, a cetologist from the mainland, whether whales and humans can communicate. 

At  Eilidh’s grandmother’s house, the two prepare to attend the Spikkin about leaving Kinnan (“Spikkin”). The meeting quickly becomes heated: while the old-timers want to stay, Jenny advises leaving so the island can “rewild.” Breagha, nine months pregnant, wants to stay, but with no doctor or functioning school she’s torn. 

Back on the beach, Eilidh discovers a strange girl her age named Arran, who seems utterly unfamiliar with Kinnan and its ways (“There Is A Girl”). At the island’s abandoned school they discover what brings them together (“Same But Different”). But when Arran insists that she comes from a mystical, mist-shrouded island called Setasea, Eilidh storms off, thinking she’s being pranked and seeks solace from her grandmother. 

Without Eilidh, Arran wanders the island and meets Breagha, who is very pregnant and in pain. Arran sings to the in-utero baby (“Blessing”), and then breaks down because she fears she can never go home. Meanwhile, Eilidh is desperately seeking Arran (“Have You Seen…”). When they find each other, Eilidh tries to sing as she did with the whale in the first scene, and the two become friends again. 

On the way to the island’s midsummer dance, Eilidh deletes a voicemail from her mother, who was trying to explain her decision to leave Kinnan (“Answerphone”). She and Arran debate whether Eilidh should reconcile with her mother, and Arran finally explains why she can’t return to the Setasea: her job was to shepherd the now-dead whale calf named Arna, along with the rest of the pod, and she is disgraced.

When Eilidh receives upsetting news (“Sorry For Your Loss”) and her mother comes to the island, Eilidh ignores Arran’s advice and runs away. At the beach she finds Jenny, who is about to take Breagha – now in labor – across to the mainland for the birth. She and Arran get in the boat with them. But the sea turns violent, and the boat capsizes. In desperation, Eilidh sings her whalesong, which brings the dead calf’s mother, who saves the boat’s occupants. 

They all return safely to Kinnan (“There Is A (Baby) Girl”). Eilidh’s communication with the whale paves the way for Arran to be forgiven so she may return to the Setasea. Before she departs, they vow to see each other the following year. “If the whales are still swimming,” says Arran. “If we’re still here,” says Eilidh.

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