Four Plays by Two Authors Staged by Four Directors.
Graceland takes place outside the front entrance of Graceland, at 5 a.m. three days before the estate is to be opened to the public. Two ardent Presley fans, middle-aged Bev and young Rootie, have arrived at the sacred gates, each desiring to be the first to enter the grounds, and each believing that she is the one most deserving of the honor. Wary at first, the two soon progress from dispute to shared confidences and a touching resolution. Asleep on the Wind serves as a “prequel” to Graceland, taking place 10 years earlier in Bayou Teche, Louisiana, where adolescent Rootie and her favorite brother, Beau, come to talk in private and to escape the harassment of her other brothers. This time Beau has a double purpose for their meeting: to persuade Rootie to try to stick it out at home and in school and to reach beyond him for companionship; and also to tell her that he has enlisted in the army and has requested service in Vietnam.
Birding with Aunt Nancy, winner of the Fitton Center New Play competition, finds two sisters, Ellie and Mim, as they have traveled to their favorite Aunt’s favorite bird watching spot to spread her ashes. With the assistance of their Aunt’s favorite bottle of Scotch, left to them in her will, they use humor to celebrate her life, mourn her death, and grapple with the legacy of painful family relationships. Strawberry Island provides us insight into the past that has brought these characters to where they are, finding the two sisters as children on vacation in Michigan, visiting their favorite aunt. Having rowed to the small, uninhabited island in Lake Huron where Nancy has built a bird blind to monitor the migrations of bald eagles, they encounter another pair of young siblings, locals who challenge the sisters to a competition—who can collect the most wild strawberries in 10 minutes. But the game reveals much more than simple competitiveness, as the sisters begin to confront the impending divorce of their parents and their growing understanding of their own feelings about generosity, loyalty, and fairness, with both humor and frustration.