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Updated: June 11, 2012 18:23 IST

Dream bound

SRAVASTI DATTA
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Trust the tale: And the teller. Photo: Special Arrangement
Trust the tale: And the teller. Photo: Special Arrangement

Shipwrecked, Jagriti's season finale play, will make your imagination soar and your mind reflect on the meaning of life

Donald Marguiles' aim with “Shipwrecked” was “to capture the attention of the hidden child in the audience.” He wrote the script with the intention of telling a captivating yarn that would appeal to people of all age groups. Indeed, the production did leave audience in the West enthralled, and this month it is entertaining Bangaloreans. “Shipwrecked”, presented by Rogue Theatre, London, is being performed as the finale for the Jagriti Theatre Festival.

“Shipwrecked” is about a young boy who is determined to see the world. He sets out on a journey from England to the South Seas and back over a 30-year span, with his dog as a faithful companion. He tells his fantastic story in print that leaves London impressed.

The story is based on the life of Louis de Rougement. Cynthia Meier, the director of the play, explains why Marguiles was intrigued by de Rougement's story. “Margulies read Louis de Rougement's entire story — the adventures that de Rougement wrote about in London's Wide World Magazine, and his ending in disgrace. Marguilies selected certain adventures from de Rougement's writing and elaborated on them. He also used the play to explore his own questions about the nature of storytelling.”

The play is performed in a carnival style with three actors performing 22 different characters. “The set is essentially comprised of a moon and a trunk. For the rest, we depend on the imagination of both the actors to create the characters and the audience to imagine the settings. This is one of the great things about the play — it's emphasis on story-telling and asking for the audience's participation in imagining the play. It was essential to have two very versatile actors play the many different characters, which range from a dog to a sea captain to Queen Victoria, and it was essential to have an actor who is an excellent storyteller to draw us in as the major character of Louis de Rougement. For the set and props and costumes, we worked on developing only the essential elements that would suggest to the audience the full landscape. The sound effects help a great deal in creating the setting.”

Storytelling is an important device in theatre, and Marguiles puts it to good use in “Shipwrecked”. Cynthia agrees. “Good actors can act in a good scene, but unless the playwright has good storytelling skills, the audience will be bored or only momentarily engaged. The story is what gives a play momentum, and it is what makes a play memorable.”

Like most competent plays, “Shipwrecked” isn't mere entertainment, but makes the audience think deeply about important ideas. “It explores the nature of truth and fame. Perhaps it is most accurate to say that ‘Shipwrecked' teaches us to be wary of those we place on a pedestal of heroism. Near the end of the play, Louis asks the audience: ‘What does a man leave behind but his name and the stories he told? All else is dust.' I think this question is what Marguilies wanted to get to with his play.”

“Shipwrecked” will be performed till June 17, from Tuesday to Sunday, at Jagriti, and features Patty Gallagher, Joseph McGrath and David Morden as Louis de Rougement. From Tuesday till Saturday it will be performed at 8 p.m. and on Sundays at 3 and 6.30 p.m.

Tickets are priced at Rs. 300 from www.bookmyshow.com or at Jagriti box office 080-41242879.

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