SHADES OF WAYNE
Music by LISA WHITSON BURNS
Words by CHRISTOPHER STASKEL
Perhaps 80-year-old Wayne has always carried around an idealized version of himself in the back of his mind. But it is not until he survives a debilitating stroke and loses the ability to communicate with his loved ones that the idealization emerges from his psyche as a living, breathing person: Wayne’s Wayne.
Meanwhile, Wayne’s beloved wife Aggie has her own ideal version of Wayne, who has gradually developed in her head over nearly fifty years of marriage, but has suddenly become much more real when the stroke leaves only a shadow of the partner she remembers.
When Joanne—Wayne and Aggie’s divorced, forty-something daughter—invites the octogenarian couple to come live with her and her college-aged son Little Wayne, it quickly becomes unclear who is helping and who is hindering whom as they all cope with the aftermath of Wayne’s stroke.
In a desperate attempt to keep the family intact, Joanne hires celebrity therapist Dr. Guy Guthrie to join the already crowded household and hold session. But when Wayne and Aggie are forced to admit their unspeakable desires, they risk fracturing the family once and for all.
With a tone that is playful and darkly comic, Shades of Wayne tackles the uncomfortable grey areas between selfish- and selflessness, optimism and delusion, and life and death.