by Toby Cooper
Actors Theater Orcas Island presents “Whither the Wind Blows,” a one-act play written by Seattle playwright Rick Gossett and directed by Tom Fiscus in a first-ever performance on Orcas this month.
Set in Scotland’s wind-swept Outer Hebrides islands, Gossett’s allegorical tale explores one man’s painful but uplifting journey through love, loss, and self-realization. Whither the Wind Blows runs August 11-13 at the Grange.
Keen McKeg (Larry Hampel), a hand-laboring fisherman steeped in seafaring tradition, still grieves the loss of his first son to the sea, and frets as second son Jon (Moose Kinsey) finds success as a writer. Keen’s disappointment is impossible to hide. Wife Ona (Suzanne Gropper) and a frank-talking village priest (Tom McDonough), plus Jon’s friend Dorf (Lew Thomas), all fail to convince Keen of Jon’s value, while Jon faces rejection from love-interest Soji (Aaimee Johnson), who herself is ostracized for reputed witchcraft. The crisscrossing plotlines are masterfully stitched together by narrator Tony Lee who reads in fireside manner to an adoring child (Audrey Eberle).
Director Tom Fiscus does not disappoint. He consulted with Rick Gossett regularly throughout the production, rewriting elements of the script to create a story with credibility, integrity, authenticity, and spell-binding emotion. The end result is an immersive exploration of universal human qualities.
Audiences at the Grange will be doubly treated to a splendid half hour of Hebridean and Celtic music performed by Dave Zoeller, Melinda Milligan and Dave Parish. The trio sets a delightful tone of mood and melody with acoustic guitars, antique flutes and Melinda’s ever-penetrating vocals.