Riding sea turtles, wandering the Australian Outback and encountering flying wombats and murderous octopuses are all part of Louis de Rougemont's astonishing life story--or they would be if it were true. In Shipwrecked! An Entertainment: The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told By Himself), the title character spins a grandiose yarn of his survival through stormy seas and hostile Aborigines. The small cast and relatively minimal props are used to great advantage to captivate the audience.
The play is based on the real-life claims of Louis de Rougemont, the (con)artist formerly known as Henri Louis Grin. In the late 19th century, Grin invented a tale that fellow fabricator James Frey would envy, publishing his adventures in a popular British periodical and portraying them as true. Though the public quickly called his bluff, Rougemont's life remains entertaining and is the subject of a stage adaptation by Donald Margulies.
Boise Contemporary Theater is staging the so-called memoir this autumn, starring Dwayne Blackaller as Louis de Rougemont. The production recycles a small group of actors to portray multiple characters--for example, the same actor who plays the lovable dog Bruno also plays Queen Victoria. It promises to be an amusing look at memoirs and at a period in history when the men were men and truth really was stranger than fiction. Performances run through October.