Shipwrecked! Press Reviews
"Shipwrecked!" at Vermont Stage Company
- Reviewed by Connie Meng
- Reviewed for North Country Public Radio
- Reviewed on March 15th, 2010
Entertaining, creative, thoughtful, funny - all these apply to the smashing production of SHIPWRECKED! by Donald Margulies now playing at Vermont Stage Company. The play is based on the true-life story of the rise and fall of Louis de Rougemont, whose stories of his adventures held the Victorian public in thrall. Director Mark Nash has come up with a splendidly theatrical take on the narration by Louis, ably assisted by two versatile actors and a terrific soundman.
The playing space is set up as a proscenium theatre, with John Paul Devlin's playable set consisting of a rectangular platform and back-drop, with large hanging maps to the right and an open shed filled with sound equipment including a pump organ to the left. Other set pieces come and go, sometimes in miniature.
Being able to see Sound Designer and Foley Artist Joel Abbott produce the appropriate sound effects is an unexpected treat. If you're wondering what a Foley Artist is, they work mostly in film and match sound to action. Just watch this play's typewriter sequence...
Tall ships, tall tales in 'Shipwrecked!'
- Reviewed by Jim Lowe
- Reviewed for Times Argus
- Reviewed on March 14th, 2010
Louis de Rougement is an intrepid sailor and explorer, a master of the Australian outback, a god to the Aborigines, and has defied death countless times during his myriad adventure. If you don't believe it, ask him. He'll tell you.
The stories may or may not be real, but de Rougement certainly was, and he successfully and unsuccessfully regaled audiences with these tales in England at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. Playwright Donald Margulies has created an imagined one of de Rougement's music hall presentations.
Vermont Stage Company opened a production of "Shipwrecked! An Entertainment - The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougement (as Told by Himself)" last week at FlynnSpace, that proved charming, fascinating and riotously funny at Thursday's performance.
- Reviewed by Elisabeth Crean
- Reviewed for Seven Days
- Reviewed on March 17th, 2010
What is more important about a true story: how well it is told, or how truthfully? James Frey's gripping memoir of drug and alcohol addiction, A Million Little Pieces, became a best seller when Oprah Winfrey selected it for her talk show's book club in 2005. However, after research uncovered that the author had fabricated the narrative's most dramatic elements, Oprah vivisected Frey in a follow-up interview.
Selling fiction as fact to a public that hungers to believe is not a new phenomenon. In 1898, Louis de Rougemont riveted the world with his account of 30 years as a South Seas castaway. Serialized in a popular magazine, his experiences became a publishing sensation but quickly drew scrutiny from skeptical scientists.
American playwright Donald Margulies embraces the Victorian raconteur's jaunty esprit and steals his subject's fanciful 1899 book title, Shipwrecked! An Entertainment - The Amazing True Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself) for his 2007 play. Vermont Stage brilliantly accomplishes the playwright's goal "to tell a ripping good yarn." The current production, artfully directed by Mark Nash, features dynamic performances and a witty production design that together create a feisty celebration of the imagination.
Get 'Shipwrecked!' with Vermont Stage for fun evening
- Reviewed by Brent Hallenbeck
- Reviewed for The Burlington Free Press
- Reviewed on March 19th, 2010
There's a mini-theme running through the productions of Vermont Stage this season: real-life people who aspire to be something greater than they can ever be.
That was the whole crux of the Burlington-based company's most recent play, "Souvenir," which centered on an early 20th-century society woman who fancied herself a stunning singer even though she strangled and mangled every song her voice encountered. The current Vermont Stage production, "Shipwrecked! An Entertainment - The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougement (as Told by Himself)," weaves the story of a 19th-century man who rose from being a self-described "sickly shut-in from the wrong side of the Thames" to the spinner of one of the most amazing yarns Victorian London had ever heard.