Set in the midst of The Inkwell, a small section of Martha's Vinyard once dominated by the summer homes of the black elite, Familiar is a moving portrait of longing, betrayal and hope.
The world beyond the Frisby's front door is a threatening tangle. Mom Maya resides in a hole on the beach, dad Fred is long gone, and the family's beloved clam shack is being infiltrated by gaggles of intrusive cashier girls. Sister Jill and brother Archibald have learned to depend on only each other for companship. Until now. With summer approaching, Jill hires the bubbly Lane under one condition: under no circumstances may Lane befriend the reclusive Archibald, whose constitution, Jill explains, makes him unable to endure social situations. Deeply intuitive and endearingly eager to please, Lane agrees but to her chagrin is enchanted by the painfully awkward Archibald, thus swiftly dissolving her promise and courting the wrath of Jill. But Jill has her own worries: namely winning the affections of Maya, who has not only submerged herself within a giant hole on the beach but refuses to grant even one moment of motherly devotion to her daughter. Instead she has become fixated on the attributes of the agoraphobic Archibald, as well as the burning ache that the loss of her husband, Fred, has infused within her. As if this weren't enough to keep Jill occupied, she must also thwart the amorous advances of Paul, whose interest in Jill is spurred by a dire need to put his sexuality to the test. Jill and Archibald's world finally gives way to erosion when Lane, in the hopes that she can create a convivial atmosphere modeled after Dirty Dancing, plans a limbo party that the mere suggestion of sends Jill into destructive panic and Archibald into desperate euphoria as he grasps at the always fleeting normalcy that hasn't been a part of his emotional vocabulary since grade school. Set in the midst of The Inkwell, a small section of Martha's Vinyard once dominated by the summer homes of the black elite, Familiar is a moving portrait of longing, betrayal and hope. One int., two ext. sets. Approximate running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.