Community Players’ latest show is a swashbuckling tale with more words in the title than there are actors.
“Shipwrecked! An Entertainment, The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as told by himself)” follows a Swiss explorer’s tales of his lifetime in Australia in the 1800s.
“[He] really did tell these tales that the show presents about his life going through a shipwreck and living on a deserted island, and where his life takes him after that,” Tyler Rinne, Community Players’ associate artistic director, said.
Playing de Rougemont is Jeff Porter, with Tina Rowe and Brandon Clark playing all the people and animals he encounters, which is roughly 20 roles apiece.
“Just through very brief and small costume, changes in demeanor, different voices they take on, they’re able to transform themselves into different characters,” Rinne said.
Porter said he reflected on his actions at different ages, as well as read de Rougemont’s book to get into the character’s mindset.
Clark said he’s previously played several roles in “Lucky Stiff," but said that was more for comedic effect.
“So the challenge with this one is getting into these characters in more of a real storytelling sense to help bring the story to life,” Clark said.
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Clark said he plays a dog for a large portion of the middle of the show, and said he observed family and friends’ dogs and how they act.
“How quickly they wag their tail, how much they bounce around, but also the different kind of barks,” Clark said. “If anyone owns a dog, at a certain point you can know what your dog is trying to say just by how they’re barking or whining at you. So trying to bring all of that into this character.”
Rinne said the audience will be able to see the actors changing into their different characters on the stage, as well as the set pieces being moved and repurposed.
“Louis was all about taking his real life and embellishing it, so that’s what we really focused on with our production,” Rinne said. “As you look around the stage, you can see all of these things you’d find down in a basement or a garage sale or just laying around, and we repurposed them and embellished them to use them in our story.”
Rinne said the show is unlike anything Community Players has done before, and was a challenge for him and the actors to find ways to illustrate volcano explosions and other action with little direction from the script.
“With so little we’re trying to accomplish so much with this story, and I think that that’s going to be something that any audience that comes is going to be wowed by,” Rinne said. “This is definitely a show that you’re going to come to and keep talking about and keep thinking about once you leave.”
The show runs Feb. 14-15, 21-22 at 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 16 and 23 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students. For the Feb. 15 performance, tickets are $10 and $8 respectively, and Community Players will have a cash bar.
Tickets can be reserved at the box office, located at 412 Ella St., online at www.beatricecommunityplayers.com or by calling 402-228-1801.