is an engaging mix of storytelling and fun written by Donald Margulies. The story chronicles the outsized life of one Louis de Rougemont, who regaled Victorian England for a time with grandiose tales of his exploits in far-flung locales. Outfitted in the boots and garb of a pirate/seaman, Rougemont (Gregory Itzin) glibly recounts a saga that begins with a childhood marred by physical and emotional frailty but which is healed by the reading of such exotic tomes as Robinson Crusoe
and Tales of the Arabian Nights
. As a lad of 16, Louis leaves home and a doting mother to ship out to the Coral Sea in search of pearls. In short order, he's attacked by a ferocious sea monster, marooned on an island, marries a beautiful Aborigine, battles hostile natives, is worshipped as a god, and, like Gauguin, becomes enamored with life as an islander. A return to England bestows celebrity and fame on our traveler before he is eventually exposed as a fraud. The superb Itzin imbues his role with an infectious blend of flair and self-mockery. Michael Daniel Cassady and Melody Butiu not only do yeoman's duty with the props, puppets and special effects (hats off to Christine Marie's shadow scenic design) but also skillfully portray all the story's numerous characters, including one loyal, lovable dog. Bart DeLorenzo's direction is appropriately clever and effective.
Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 28, 4 & 8:30 p.m.; Sun., June 29, 2 & 7 p.m. Starts: June 25. Continues through Aug. 3, 2008