Tall tales from the high seas

BCT continues its nautically themed output with its production of Shipwrecked!

He sold his story to popular magazines, was celebrated by royalty and foreign dignitaries alike, and then took his tale on the vaudeville circuit. Now, Louis de Rougemont will be taking you on an incredible nautical journey on stage with Shipwrecked! An Entertainment -- The Amazing Adventures Of Louis De Rougemont (As Told By Himself).

Shipwrecked! An Entertainment — The Amazing Adventures Of Louis De Rougemont (As Told By Himself).

In March, the Bangkok Community Theatre (BCT) introduced local audiences to a magical and mystical fable, with their beautiful production of the award-winning musical Once On This Island. Later, in May, the BCT reimagined an old favourite, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, as a rollicking, steam punk tale set in a pirate cove that time forgot. Now, the BCT is taking theatregoers on another watery adventure with its production of Shipwrecked!

This latest production is set on a simple Victorian stage dressed with trunks, ropes, mops and more to help the title character (adroitly played by BCT veteran Peter Assimakopoulos) tell his tale to his adoring public. The play is based on the true story of Louis de Rougemont, who returned to London at the end of the 19th century, recounting extraordinary tales of his adventures at sea, which is how the audience finds him at the show's start.

Standing on a mostly bare stage where you can see almost everything that goes on behind the scenes, Louis invites the audience to join him on his journey. He shifts back and forth between narrating and acting out his misadventures, often inviting commentary from the audience as well. Louis is assisted by a supporting troupe of five Victorian performers who play all the key characters that are central to his story.

Anastasia Adams, Kristoffer Cabuyao, Ana Nuñez Roma, Dan Smith and Bonnie Zellerbach play a myriad of roles: Louis' mother, a ship's captain, sea creatures, wandering tribesmen, Londoners, Victorian royalty and many more. The ensemble players switch from one character to another at the drop of a hat (literally, at times!) to help embellish Louis' story during this clever Victorian theatrical evening.

Moving between live action and narrative is no easy task, and the cast wholeheartedly credit director Cian Green for his vision for the production overall and his ability to find creative ways to make the story come alive.

Director Cian Green. Photo courtesy of Bangkok Community Theatre

"His ideas are so imaginative," noted one cast member. "There are surprising moments for audience members of all ages," said another. "Cian has made sure that the story will resonate with children as well as adults."

When asked why people should come to see Shipwrecked!, Cian said: "This show works on multiple levels. People that have never been to or would never consider going to see a live theatre show are exactly the kind of people we want to come and watch and, in doing so, reignite the magic of theatre.

And of course, the ultimate reason to come and see this show is to learn about one of the most interesting and daring men of the Victorian era: Louis de Rougemont."

Shipwrecked! An Entertainment – The Amazing Adventures Of Louis De Rougemont (As Told By Himself) plays for 90 minutes with no interval at Creative Industries, M-Theatre, Phetchaburi Road, Bangkok, on Sept 27-28 and Oct 4-5. Tickets are 800 baht available via ticketmelon.com. Visit bangkokcommunitytheatre.com.