A 19th-century staged work involving story telling, puppetry, music, and sound effects. A dog, a giant octopus, a crusty old sea captain, and a magical sea turtle are just a few of the characters awaiting you in the true life tale of Louis de Rougemont. Part of Piccolo Spoleto Festival.
It's old school
The Village Playhouse's 2009 holiday hit harkens back to a theatrical style popular in the late 19th century. Built on the exuberant storytelling of lead actor Evan Parry, the show incorporates dozens of costumes, props, and live sound effects. The shipwreck of the title is depicted with shadow puppetry, and Parry interacts with the audience like a showman of old. All that's missing is a magic lantern.
Don't let that put you off
By showing how the play is made and the amount of work involved, the Playhouse turns a spectacle into a moving experience. Parry never gets a chance to slack off. He changes costumes, does pushups, defends the veracity of his incredible stories, and rides on a sea turtle's back, all on stage with barely a break in the action. Adding to this whirlwind of activity are Katherine Chaney and Addison Dent, who play more than 30 characters between them. It's fun to watch, but you'll find yourself caring about the protagonists too.
It's an adventure for all ages
Like all the best plays, Shipwrecked works on two levels. For youngsters, there's the action-packed story of a sea voyage, a monster from the deep, an endearing dog, and a mysterious island. For jaded adults, there are explorations of powerful themes, like the definition of a life spent worthily; the bond between mother and son, no matter how far apart they are; and the public's kaleidoscopic perception of the truth, steered by trash-talking media moguls. The play was particularly popular with 8-12-year-olds in its original run, so it will fill a niche in a festival that's generally geared toward grown-ups.