Kentucky previews of the small-cast play — a title that is blossoming in regional theatres and currently playing Off-Broadway — began Feb. 3. Performances continue to Feb. 28.
The cast of three includes Richard McMillan (as Louis de Rougemont) and Eric Bondoc and Melody Butiu as two "players" who bring all of the other characters in de Rougemon't tale to life.
Shipwrecked! "is based on the actual life and stories of the man whose exploits captured Victorian society's imagination," according to ATL. "Louis de Rougement was born in Paris in 1847 and raised in London. He was a sickly boy, convalescing at home while his mother read to him from 'The Arabian Nights' and 'Robinson Crusoe.' And soon enough — as may happen with boys fed on such stories — Louis set off to have an escapade of his own, heading to Australia on a pearling ship, facing a giant octopus, flying wombats, a whirlpool, friendly and not-so friendly Aborigines and years shipwrecked at the edge of the known world.
"De Rougemont made his way back to England in 1898 after 35 years away and published his life story in Wide World magazine. Introduced as 'the most amazing story a man ever lived to tell,' his essays made him an overnight sensation in a culture curious about the reaches of the British Empire."
Margulies revels in the tension between the fiction and reality. *
According to ATL, "The play, set in the early 1900s, finds Louis traveling Britain, chronicling his life for whomever will listen. With the help of two actors who take on more than two dozen roles — from Louis' mother and the dog who pulls him from the shipwreck, to Queen Victoria — de Rougemont spins his tale with equal parts bombast and theatre magic."
Director Marc Masterson's creative team, conjuring the fanciful world, includes scenic designer Michael B. Raiford, costume designer Sonya Berlovitz, ATL resident lighting designer Brian J. Lilienthal, sound designer Darron L. West and assistant sound designer Benjamin Marcum, properties designer Doc Manning and puppet designer Jason von Hinezmeyer with puppet consultant John Ludwig, both of Center for Puppetry Arts, home of the Jim Henson collection.
For more information, visit actorstheatre.org.