Home > Plays > Selkie: Between Land and Sea

On the wild rocky coast of the islands north of Scotland, it is told round the peat fires that the selkies transform into beautiful lasses on Midsummer’s Eve and dance on the beach, celebrating the dual nature of the seal people—land and sea. This timeless myth chronicles the story of 16-year-old Elin Jean, who knows she is different from “the others.” Elin Jean is drawn to the forbidden churn of the North Sea, where the islanders’ deepest fears are rooted. To make matters worse, her webbed hands are only part of the secretive nature of her family’s solitary existence. As she stands on the threshold of womanhood, Elin Jean discovers a hidden pelt that unlocks a mystery foretold by the selkies and is set on a path to find “the knowin'” she desperately seeks. With the help of Tam, a traveler lad, her beloved grandfather and some unexpected allies from beneath the tides, Elin Jean engages in a dangerous mission to save the selkies and alters the relationship between land and sea forever. Filled with lyrical language, music and mysticism, this coming-of-age story will fascinate theatregoers of all ages: an entry into a world filled with drama and adventure as a family reveals its secrets and a daughter is set free to find where she belongs. The original version of this play was featured at the Bonderman Playwriting for Youth National Symposium and New Visionsew Voices at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and it won a Distinguished Play Award from the American Alliance for Theatre & Education. This exciting expanded version takes us beyond the land and into the tides where Elin Jean finds that “there is more beneath the sea than you or I can imagine.” Commissioned by and premiered at the Coterie Theatre. This play was the basis of Brooks’ young adult novel Selkie Girl.