Donald Margulies' Shipwrecked is a throwback to simpler times when plays didn't rely on laser lights, video projection, large casts, or rock band endorsements to draw crowds. The show still has plenty of bells and whistles, but they're operated before your very eyes — an extra level of entertainment built on a solid narrative foundation. The effects and situations are created by a small handful of actors and stage assistants at a breakneck speed. It's a joy to watch them work and to see them spin their outlandish tale.
Louis de Rougemont (College of Charleston professor Evan Parry) leads an adventurous voyage across the high seas with a pirate captain (Katherine Chaney) and a faithful hound named Bruno (Addison Dent). Along the way, Rougemont meets islanders, hunters, and dozens of other vivid characters, all played by Chaney and Dent.
More doubling up is done by Jake Hennessy and Price Enright Long, who work on either side of the stage making most of the sounds, physical effects, and shadow puppet vignettes. The cast and crew work together in perfect unison. Although there's a whirlwind of action going on, great attention is still paid to scene changes, choreography, and small detail.
Shipwrecked got plenty of positive response during its original run last year. Apart from the storytelling and swashbuckling for the kids, there's a dark, honest twist to the narrative that resonates with adults. In the poignant script by Pulitzer Prize-winner Margulies, Rougemont isn't everything that he purports to be. The facts he gives us are as malleable as a fading memory.
Audience interaction gives the show immediacy and freshness. If any play should return for Piccolo by popular demand, it's this family treat. —Nick Smith