Review by: Jeanette Boehme
“Shipwrecked!” is the current offering of Orange Community Players and it is a family-friendly romp that is based on a “true” story. You have to take “true” with a grain of salt in this production directed locally by Thomas May.
In 1898, an adventurer, Henri Louis Grin, wrote about his fantastic adventures as truth, and for a time his stories were a sensation in most of the world. But soon detractors found so many holes in the stories that the entire truth of the narrative was called into question. The audience, however, really doesn’t care if it is true or not, as they are swept up in the stories and their imaginations are put to work, front and center.
With eclectic and unusual staging, the play relies heavily on very creative and ingenious props and sound gadgets. Most of the five actors play several roles as they take the audience from a bedroom in London, to the deck of a pirate pearling ship, to an Australian aboriginal village, and finally back to London. All of these adventures take place in the Victorian Era of England and Queen Victoria makes an hilarious appearance played by the actor walking on his knees, thus poking fun of her very short stature.
With ninety percent of all the lines, Jessica Bean, carries the play as she portrays the hero, Louis de Rougemont. She does an amazing job playing him as he ages from a boy to an old man. When asked if she finds it difficult to play a male, she says that sometimes she has to catch herself or she will deliver a line a little too ‘girly.’ It is very impressive that she can remember so much dialog and, as pretty as she is, be believable as a male. She breaths life into her character and sweeps you along with so many funny and clever lines. Bravo to Jessica!
The scene stealer is Jessica Bean’s brother Ryan Bean who plays, as one of his characters, Bruno the faithful dog. Children, and adults alike, will love him as he garners most of the laughs. Pip, pip, and all that, Ryan!
One of the interesting side-notes is, every time the name of our hero is said on stage, a musical triangle makes a chime. This was usually done by Megan Voorhies, playing the Stage Manager. The audience finally learns to expect it and it is a charming addition. Megan also plays the Jeopardy Quiz Show tune on a xylophone when the hero is studying and thinking over something. Good show, Megan!
Jona Gilchrist plays several key parts…Louis’ mother, the dreadful pirate, and Louis’ aboriginal wife. She does it with great aplomb and pizzazz. Good job, Jona!
Rounding out the cast is 14 year old Little Cypress Mauriceville student, Dalton Teeler. He does a terrific job in every role he assumes in the play. Keep up the good work, Dalton!
This very unusual play is the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Donald Margulies and its real title is “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment. The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont As Told by Himself.” Only 90 minutes long, it is an entertaining sojourn away from television. See it October 18, 23-25 at 7:37 P.M. and a matinee on October 26 at 2:37 P.M. at 708 Division. Call 409-882-9137 for reservations or get tickets on line. Prices are $15 for adults and $10 for students.