Family Values: The Greatest Fish Story Ever Told
Published Jul 1, 2008 8:00 AM
The wacky and wonderful Louis de Rougemont — a real-life, Victorian-era adventurer who enthralled audiences in 19th-century England with tales of giant sea turtles, flying wombats, cannibals and a killer octopus before being discovered as a fraud — comes to life at the Geffen Playhouse now through July 27.
Copyright ©Photo by Henry Dirocco/SCR
Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies and directed by Bart DeLorenzo, Shipwrecked! An Entertainment — The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told By Himself) stars Gregory Itzin (of 24 fame) as the bombastic hero who gleefully reenacts his incredible tales of survival. Cast-mates Melody Butiu and Michael Daniel Cassady tackle multiple roles, including Yamba (de Rougemont's aboriginal sweetheart) and Bruno (his canine companion).
"I've taken tremendous liberties with de Rougemont, just as he took tremendous liberties with the truth himself," Margulies says of his main character. "But in Louis' story, I saw a wonderful opportunity to create something that was purely theatrical and that celebrated the art of storytelling."
First commissioned and performed for South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, Calif., this production features a slightly different ending. So for those who saw the original show and want to see it again, there will be an additional surprise, DeLorenzo says.
"It's one of those things where six members of the family can come and see it, and each of them will have his/her own sense of it," the director continues. "Which is something I think the best plays do."
— Wendy Soderburg '82
Shipwrecked! An Entertainment — The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told By Himself). Through July 27, various days and times. Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024. Tickets: $35–$74. For more information, call (310) 208-5454 or log on to http://www.geffenplayhouse.com.