Engaging. Unique. Whimsical. Inventive. One really shouldn't toss such weighty words around, but after attending the opening performance of Shipwrecked: An Entertainment, no other words came to mind. There is no grand set, so don't expect it.
Directed by Keely Enright, Shipwrecked tells the tale of Louis De Rougemont, a writer, world traveler, and regular ol' 19th century Baron von Munchausen, who left his home at the age of 16 in search of adventure. During his travels, he encounters giant octopi, rare black pearls, gnarly sea pirates, tempests, wild savages, and Australian gold prospectors ... or so he claims. It's the ingenuity of how this all takes place that makes Shipwrecked such shameless fun.
Playwright Donald Margulies is a Pulitzer Prize winner, and it shows. Of course, Margulies was awarded the prize for his 1998 play Dinner with Friends, (later a movie starring Andie MacDowell and Dennis Quaid), and sure, Shipwrecked is a good, clean, family romp. But when theatre-goers are gathering their coat, they'll realize that, at its heart, this play invites its audience to consider more, like the dangers of idolization or the intriguing nature of "truth."
Louis de Rougemont's nimble assistants, played by College of Charleston seniors Addison Dent and Katherine Chaney, are real professionals, and you'll be amazed at how many different hats — literally — they can wear as they assume role after role. Lightning quick prop and costume changes are done in perfect time and truly embody the spirit of the performance itself.
As for lead actor Evan Parry, from the moment he steps on stage, he inhabits the skin of his character with an authenticity that instantaneously lets the audience know they happen to be in very good hands.
This is not the first time that Shipwrecked has come to the Village Playhouse. Due to the popularity of the 2009 run of the show, the Playhouse decided to bring it back for Spoleto. In Shipwrecked you can't escape the feeling that Margulies has never had quite so much fun. But it's in the little moments of dialogue that sometimes greater meaning can be found. After all, as the character Louis de Rougemont says, "What does a man leave behind but his name, and the stories he's told?"
Delightful for parents and children alike, Shipwrecked is a mesmerizing adventure you won't soon forget.