The stories we tell about ourselves and the way we tell them help define who we are. But what if those stories are based in fiction rather than reality? OmniArts’ production of “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment — The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself)” will aim to examine this question this weekend at the Carson Theater.
“Shipwrecked!” is based off of the fictional tales of the real 19th-century explorer Louis de Rougemont. De Rougemont was known for his invented adventures in Australasia (Australia, New Zealand and neighboring islands), where he claimed he encountered flying wombats, giant sea turtles and a man-eating octopus. Written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies, the show is narrated by de Rougemont as he escorts the audience through his fantastical life.
Dustin Witte, the managing artistic director and co-founder of OmniArts, portrays de Rougemont in the production. Started in 2011 by Witte and Daniel Kubert, OmniArts is in its eighth season, which has the theme of “storytellers.”
Witte said that he and Kubert’s original vision for OmniArts was a production company that focused on interdisciplinary theater. He said “Shipwrecked!” continues this vision, combining music, movement and visuals to tell a complete narrative.
“[We wanted to start] a company where we could maybe more fully explore some of the concepts that we wanted to see on stage,” Witte said. “And that really involved making every performance interdisciplinary — incorporating movement or dance, incorporating music, thinking about the scenic elements — as well as really exploring the possibilities of the language of any piece. And so this production … is really a good example of all of those elements coming together — that is the movement, musical elements and the language, as well as any visual elements.”
Witte said the audience will see de Rougemont in all stages of his life, as he begins the show as an old man and slowly transforms back into a child as the show progresses. Witte said the structure of the show, with de Rougemont narrating his life story, gives a voice that fits this season’s theme.
“The idea [about storytellers] is that sometimes in a story, it isn't even so much what you say, but it is how you say it,” he said. “I think that's some of the most captivating stories that we all know. We remember them more because of the way that they were told to us — something about that unique voice of each storyteller that sort of gives us a glimpse into the ways that they see the world.”
“Shipwrecked!” will be performed on Jan. 23-25 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online.
“I hope they'll be transported,” Witte said. “I hope that even though the show really is presented in a fairly minimal way that the story is so captivating and that hopefully our performances in it are so engaging that they will go along the journey with us, and they will find a lot of things hopefully to laugh at.”