Monday, February 20, 2017

DOCUMENTARY ABOUT LOCAL HOLOCAUST CENTER TO BE SCREENED @ GEORGE STREET PLAYHOUSE

Margit Feldman

Margit: Not A23029
the life of Holocaust survivor Margit Feldman of Somerset

WHEN: Tuesday, February 28, at 7 p.m.
WHERE: George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick.
Those interested in attending are asked to register online at https://tickets.georgestplayhouse.org/.
For additional information, call 732-246-7717 or email boxoffice@georgestplayhouse.org.

To learn more about the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at RVCC and its other video and film projects, visit http://www.raritanval.edu/community/holocaust/index.html.

The event is being presented by George Street Playhouse in conjunction with the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg. Margit: Not A23029 was created and directed by filmmaker Harry Hillard of Bridgewater, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Film at RVCC. The film’s producer is Peppy Margolis of Clinton, RVCC Director of Community Programs.

The 25-minute film focuses on Feldman, a Holocaust survivor from Hungary, as she creates a life for herself after experiencing the traumas of the Holocaust. Filmmaker Hillard captures the challenges for Margit as immigrates to the US by herself after the war. In the years that follow, Feldman shows that she not only a survivor of the Holocaust, but also but a wife, mother, grandmother, cousin, friend and public speaker. She dedicates her life to telling the story of her survival in the hope that future generations better understand the consequences of prejudice, violation of human rights and genocides that continue today.

A Charter Member of the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education since its inception in 1971, Feldman was one of the founders of the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at RVCC 36 years ago.

The film is narrated by Dr. Michael Berenbaum, one of country’s leading historians and scholars about the Holocaust. Berenbaum was the first director of the United States Holocaust Research Institute at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. He also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.

Margit-Not A23029 is a semi-finalist in the Los Angeles CineFest competition in the Short Documentary category. The film was funded by RVCC; the Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon & Warren Counties; and Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. Historical footage was provided by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The event will include a question-and-answer session with Margit Feldman and Harry Hillard. A dessert reception will follow the program.

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. Serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 50 years, RVCC is an educational and cultural center that is nationally recognized for its innovative programming, service to the community and environmental leadership. The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, professional development and personal enrichment courses. The College also has a performing arts center and planetarium.

RVCC is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community’s businesses, and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.

NOTE: When I was growing up in Bound Brook during the 1950, Margit Feldman and her husband Harvey were friends of my parents! I met her about 15 years ago at a seminar on teaching the Holocaust held at Monmouth University by the NJ Council on the Humanities.

TRAVEL BACK IN TIME @ RHINO THEATRE: “FOREVER PLAID” & “DURANTE”

FOREVER PLAID

WHEN: Feb. 17 through 26th. Fridays and Saturdays are at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.
WHERE:
237 Hamburg Turnpike (Studio 237), Pompton Lakes
TICKETS:$25
Get your tickets now!

Forever Plaid is a heartwarming and clever tribute to the beautiful and innocent sounds of the "guy bands" of the 50's and 60's with beautifully harmonized songs such as Love is a Many-Splendored Thing, Three Coins in a Fountain, 16 Tons, Crazy 'Bout Ya Baby, just to name a few!  Four men rock the stage and tell stories of their trials and tribulations concluding in the ultimate performance wearing the highly anticipated "Deluxe Plaid Dinner Jackets"! Don't miss this musical complete with outrageous props, crazy dancing and spectacular orchestrations.

Rave Reviews:

"Anyone nostalgic for the Age of Vaudeville will enjoy this show. There's a wide-eyed ebullience to Kemble's performance that should make it enjoyable for viewers of all ages!" — Jay Lustig, NJ Star Ledger

"Kemble hits Durante impersonation on the nose!" — Bill Nutt, Morristown Daily Record

AWARD-WINNING ONE-WOMAN SHOW ABOUT LIFE IN MUMBAI’S RED LIGHT DISTRICT COMES TO JERSEY CITY

Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) continues Borderless with an award-winning and acclaimed solo-show

HONOUR_JCTC_pressrelease_photoHONOUR: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan

WHEN: February 26, 4:00pm (Talk-Back with audience follows performance)
WHERE:
Jersey City Theater Center Merseles Studios , 339 Newark Avenue , Jersey City
TICKETS: $20.00 ($15.00 for students & senior citizens/photo ID required at door).
To purchase tickets, visit: www.jctcenter.org
(201) 795-5386

Borderless, the new series by Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) at Merseles Studios that runs through March, brings a diverse array of new and emerging voices to JCTC audiences with a comprehensive range of art, theater, readings and performances. JCTC series explore topics global in scope yet relevant to the community; Borderless examines the personal and political consequences of 21st century globalization.

“Jersey City is one of the most diverse cities in the country,” said Olga Levina, Artistic Director. “Borderless is all about giving voices to those who are often under represented. Dipti brings to life stories of people living outside of society and highlights universal truths about the humanity we all share.”

Based on interviews with Mumbai sex workers and other research conducted by the playwright, HONOUR: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan is a deeply moving, coming-of-age story of a girl growing up in a brothel. Other ‘characters” include her mother. eunuch, priest and pimp. Both Funny and heart-breaking, this poignant, one-woman performance depicts the exotic yet dangerous reality of Mumbai's brothels.

Five percent of all proceeds from the JCTC presentation of HONOUR: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan will be donated to ApneAap Women Worldwide, a grassroots Indian organization dedicated to ending sex trafficking. (www.apneaap.org).

HONOUR: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan, is an attempt to break stereotypes,” said Dipti Mehta. "Art and theatre can create lasting social change. JCTC's Borderless and our show are collaborating to create a better world.”

HONOUR: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan won Overall Excellence Award for best solo show in the 2016 Fringe Festival and received a 5-Star review by Time Out NYC. The February 26th production at Merseles Studios marks its New Jersey debut. (for more information, visit: honourcmc.com)

Dipti Mehta, currently a Jersey City resident, was born and raised in Mumbai. Her numerous film and television credits include: The Blacklist (NBC), and The Golden Boy (CBS). In addition to acting and writing, she also holds a Ph. D in Molecular and Cellular Biology and works at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in prostate cancer research.

HONOUR: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan is directed and dramaturged by Mark Cirnigliaro who has worked extensively in theatre for the past 16 years. Recent directing credits include the World Premiere of The Hounds of War by Bill Holland which Broadway World called, “A must see,” and the critically acclaimed production of The Judgment of Fools by Bernardo Cubria for INTAR Theatre.

Photograph by Kyle Rosenberg

KEN LUDWIG FARCE OPENS IN CHATHAM THIS FRIDAY

Chatham Community Players

Moon Over Buffalo Opens February 24

The Chatham Community Players continues its successful 95th Season with Ken Ludwig’s

Moon Over Buffalo

WHEN: February 24 through March 11; Fridays and Saturdays 8 PM; Sundays 3 PM
WHERE:
Chatham Playhouse, 23 N. Passaic Ave., Chatham
TICKETS: $25 for adults and $23 for youth (18 & under) & seniors (65+).
BUY TICKETS NOW
All seating is reserved.
Please PRINT YOUR TICKETS with BARCODE prior to your arrival at the theater.  We are unable to scan cell phones, but we can print duplicate tickets at no cost.
For Box Office information, visit ChathamPlayers.org/Tickets.
Hearing impaired listening devices are available. Please inquire at the box office.
HANDICAPPED SEATING can only be guaranteed by contacting the box office at least 24 hours prior to performances at 973-635-7363 or emailing BoxOffice@ChathamPlayers.org.

In the madcap comedy tradition of Lend Me A Tenor, the hilarious Moon Over Buffalo centers on George and Charlotte Hay, fading stars of the 1950's. At the moment, they’re playing Private Lives and Cyrano De Bergerac in rep in Buffalo, New York with 5 actors. On the brink of a disastrous split-up caused by George’s dalliance with a young ingĂ©nue, they receive word that they might just have one last shot at stardom: Frank Capra is coming to town to see their matinee, and if likes what he sees, he might cast them in his movie remake of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Unfortunately, for George and Charlotte, everything that could go wrong does go wrong, abetted by a visit from their daughter’s clueless fiancĂ© and hilarious uncertainty about which play they are actually performing, caused by Charlotte’s deaf old stage manager mother who hates every bone in George’s body.

For more information, including about the cast and production team, please visit our website at ChathamPlayers.org.

CHATHAM PLAYERS SCRIPT DEADLINE FOR “JERSEY VOICES” JUST A MONTH AWAY!

Jersey Voices One Act Scripts Needed

The Chatham Community Players is seeking original, one-act plays, short musicals and/or original dance pieces, written by New Jersey authors, for Jersey Voices' 23rd Annual Production.

It is once again time to be thinking about submitting one-acts for Jersey Voices. For those of you who have already sent along submissions for Jersey Voices 2017—thank you! For those of you who have not, we want to remind you that the deadline is coming up soon—this year’s DEADLINE is MARCH 15th, just under one month away!

So please put the finishing touches on those plays sitting on your desk/desktop and send them along. This year, like last year, we are only accepting submissions by e-mail to the address listed below.

Play submissions of any genre (including short musical and dance pieces), style and length up to 15 minutes running time (we're serious about this) will be accepted through March 15, 2017. Selected pieces will each be performed in our Black Box Theater in Chatham on the last weekend in July and first weekend in August.

If we've not chosen your work in the past, please don't give up on us. Each year we have produced new pieces by an author whose work we've passed over in the past; it usually has more to do with trying to balance 6 separate pieces for an enjoyable evening of theater than it has to do with the quality of the piece which has been passed over. In fact, under these circumstances, we have often held over a piece we've liked and given it consideration in the following year. Some of these 'holdovers' have subsequently been chosen, produced, and favorably received.

We are looking forward to seeing your work this year and, as we know that many of you come to see Jersey Voices, to seeing you again this summer. If you have not already introduced yourself, when you're in the audience please stay for the reception we have after each performance and introduce yourself. We'd love to meet you.

Email submissions to: JerseyVoices@ChathamPlayers.org.

For more information, write to: JerseyVoices@ChathamPlayers.org.

CHATHAM PLAYERS SET AUDITIONS FOR VAN DRUTEN PLAY

AUDITION NOTICE:

Bell, Book and Candle

The Chatham Players will hold auditions for John Van Druten’s play, Bell, Book and Candle 

WHEN:  Tuesday, February 28th and Wednesday, March 1st at 7:30 pm.
WHERE:
The Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic Ave.

Production dates are May 5 thru May 20, 2017, with rehearsals to begin early-March. Elizabeth Rogers directs.

Set in the late 1950’s NYC, Bell Book and Candle centers around Gillian Holroyd, a modern-day witch. She casts a spell over an unattached publisher, Shepherd Henderson, partly to keep him away from a rival, partly because she is bored, and partly because she is attracted to him. He immediately falls head over heels in love with her and soon wants to marry her. But, witches, unfortunately, cannot fall in love. If they do, they lose their powers. This tiny complication leads to a number of difficulties. As truths are told and tempers flare, Gillian is surprised to discover that she has fallen in love, but is it too late?

For more information, including Casting breakdown, audition form and sides, please visit our Auditions Page.

GUITARISTS TO HEADLINE LES PAUL FESTIVAL CONCERT

Guitarists Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniola
To Headline the

Les Paul Festival Concert
WHEN: Saturday, February 25, 8 PM
WHERE: Berrie Center, Ramapo College, 505 Ramapo Valley Road, Mahwah
TICKETS: $30/27/24
Buy Online HERE
Box Office: (201) 684-7844

The 2017 Les Paul Festival Concert will feature:

Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniola with special guest Gary Mazzaroppi and Ramapo singers Jackie Narciso and Benjamin Sims

Frank Vignola’s stunning virtuosity has made him the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s top musicians, including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Boston Pops, New York Pops, and guitar legend Les Paul, who named Vignola to his “Five Most Admired Guitarists List.”

At 28, Vinny Raniolo has already proved to be among the elite having performed and recorded with Bucky Pizzareli, Tommy Emmanuel and David Grisman.

Frank and Vinny will be joined by Bassist Gary Mazzaroppi for this special performance. Ramapo singers Jackie Narciso and, from England, Benjamin Sims will open the show. Come and join us for a wonderful evening!

www.frankvignola.com

BARN THEATRE TO HOLD AUDITIONS FOR MUSICAL DRAMA

OPEN AUDITION NOTICE:

A Man of No Importance Auditions March 5 and 6, 2017

A Man of No Importance
book by Terrence McNally
Music & Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
directed by Mary Ryzuk

WHEN: Friday, March 3rd, 7pm to 10 pm; Monday, March 6th, 7pm to 10 pm
WHERE:
The Barn Theatre is located at 32 Skyline Drive in Montville, NJ, just minutes off Route 287 (Exit 47)

PERFORMANCE DATES: May 12, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, June 1, 2, 3 at 8 pm and May 13, 14, 21, 28 at 2 pm (Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays).

Alfie Byrne is a bus driver in 1964 Dublin, whose heart holds secrets he can't share with anyone but his imagined confidante, Oscar Wilde. When he attempts to put on an amateur production of Wilde's Salome in the local church hall, he confronts the forces of bigotry and shame over a love "that dare not speak its name." But the redemptive power of theater changes his life and brings his friends back to his side.

A Man Of No Importance is the second successful collaboration by the team of Terrence McNally, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, all of whom won Tony Awards for Ragtime.

CAST REQUIREMENTS:

  • ALFIE BYRNE (40s)    Enthusiastic personality - Inwardly insecure
    (Baritone) Range to high “A”
  • LILY BYRNE (45-55) Alfie’s long suffering sister. Complaining but nurturing character (Belt voice—Low “E” to “A “ above middle “C”
  • ROBBIE (30s) Bus Driver- Handsome. Good build.  Loyal friend of Alfie (Tenor range)
  • CARNEY (60s) The local butcher. Excitable – Sure of himself. Righteous (Baritone)
  • ADELE (20-25) A bit insecure – Secretive (Lyric soprano range)
  • BALDY (60s) Mild mannered - Supportive nature (Baritone)  (Need not be bald)
  • FATHER KENNY (60s) Elderly. Eccentric Character part –(Non-singing role)
  • OSCAR WILDE Suave. Urban (Baritone range)
  • BRETON BERET (30s) Seductive – dangerous- Pub Patron (Baritone)

The St. Imelda Community Players

  • (MISS CROWE) 40-60)
  • (MRS. CURTIN) (40-60)
  • (MRS. GRACE) (40-60)
    Character actresses – each with different personalities – the  more eccentric the better  (MRS. CURTIN must tap dance)
  • ERNIE LALLY (50s)
  • MRS. PATRICK (30-35) Pretty - A bit sexy
  • PETER (Any age)
  • SULLY O’HARA (Any age)
  • RASHER FLYNN (Any age)

THREE TOUGH MEN -  PUB PATRONS

A guitar player in the PUB

Line dancing-Similar to an Irish gig

Actors are asked to arrive to sign in within the first hour of the audition start time. All roles are available. Casting is open, and newcomers are especially welcomed. Crew and other volunteers are also needed for the event. If interested, please contact info@barntheatre.org .

For more information or directions, call 973-334-9320 ext. 5, or visit www.barntheatre.org

***IMPORTANT: Actors will be asked to list ALL potential conflict dates AT THE TIME of your audition, (NOT after casting). Please be prepared with your calendar and out-dates, as a rehearsal schedule will be generated based upon availability of staff and cast.

OPERA THEATRE OF MONTCLAIR PRESENTS “THE MAGIC FLUTE” IN 2 VENUES: MONTCLAIR AND BAYONNE

"Introducing opera to diverse audiences
using extraordinary local talent in nontraditional venues."

WHEN: Sunday, February 25, 2 PM
WHERE:
Auditorium at The Montclair Public Library, 50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair
ADMISSION: Free

Opera Theatre of Montclair will present its abridged version of Mozart's THE MAGIC FLUTE. This popular FREE family-friendly event requires no reservation.  Just show up—be sure to bring the kids!!

CAST
:
Tamino - Tai Collins, tenor
Pamina - Patricia Vital, soprano
Papageno - Alan Smulen, baritone
Queen of the Night - Heather Bobeck, soprano
Sarastro - John Weidemann, bass
First Lady - Anita Lyons, soprano
Second Lady - Jill Burstein, soprano
Third Lady - Cornelia Lotito, mezzo soprano
Papagena - Allison Mion, soprano
Monostatos - Ian Castro, tenor
Rebecca Eng, piano
Mia Riker-Norrie, narrator

Opera Theatre of Montclair will also perform its family-friendly interactive Magic Flute

WHEN: Sunday, March 26, 3 PM
WHERE:
Temple Emanu-El, 735 Kennedy Boulevard, in Bayonne, NJ

TICKETS: $35/adult ($40/adult at the door) , $10/child 10 & up, FREE/child under 10.
Group tickets are $30 each (minimum of 10).

Eventbrite - CLICK HERE

Check by mail:
Opera Theatre of Montclair
32 Cloverhill Place, Montclair, NJ 07042.

This performance will serve as a fundraiser for OTM and Temple Emanu-El.

This performance will feature OTM's professional singers and the Opera Orchestra of Montclair conducted by Dr. Robert Butts.

OSCAR-THEMED PLAY @ RVCC THEATRE FOR 2 PERFORMANCES ONLY

Bette Davis Ain't For Sissies

Bette Davis Ain't For Sissies
Jessica Sherr
WHEN: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 12 & 7PM
WHERE:
  RVCC Theatre, 118 Lamington Rd., Branchburg
ALL TICKETS: $15

It's early evening of the 1939 Academy Awards. Young Bette Davis is nominated for Best Actress in Dark Victory, and the Los Angeles Times leaks the Oscar winners early: "This year Vivian Leigh will take home the Oscar for Best Actress." Newspaper in hand, a bold, defiant and disillusioned Bette decides to leave. Witness the iconic actress's most defining moments as a tenacious young starlet fighting her way to the top, and journey into her battle to win freedom from the grip of Hollywood's studio moguls.

RVCCArts | The Theatre at RVCC | WEBSITE | 908.725.3420

REVIEW: VERY CONTEMPORARY COMEDY PREMIERES ON CENTENARY STAGE

By Sheila Abrams

What a peculiar world we live in! Things change so fast that words we thought we knew turn out to mean something entirely different. This comes across clearly in the fresh and funny play, The Surrogate, by Patricia Cotter, now having its world premiere by the Centenary Stage Company.

Surrogate4SM

The play’s title is just one small example of how the world is changing. It has nothing to do with the legal system. It refers, instead, to a woman who is carrying a pregnancy for another woman, in a sense lending her body to produce a baby for someone else. (Above, L-R: Diana Cherkas, Caitlin Duffy, Susan Barrett and Clark Carmichael)

We do not meet Crystal, the title character, until well into the play. Virtually the entire first act is spent setting the scene, which it does brilliantly, bubbling with sharp-edged wit. We meet Billy and Sara, the couple for whom Crystal is carrying a baby boy. They already have a toddler, Tallulah (off stage but vividly “present” as a voice from a baby monitor).

The couple have dinner guests, Margaret, a close friend of Billy’s, and Jen, her lesbian partner. After a great deal of wine, and seemingly endless videos and stories about Tallulah, Billy and Sara tell their guests about the coming baby. Then they present Margaret and Jen with the news that if Billy and Sara both die, they have been chosen to raise the two children. Margaret, in her 40s and never having had children, and Jen, 50 and the mother of two adults, are horrified. Smiling and expressing how flattered they are to have been asked, they get out the door as fast as they can.

Surrogate3SMWhen Crystal does appear, she is uncomfortable with Billy and Sara and instead goes to stay with Margaret and Jen. In the course of conversations, the characters and motivations of the women emerge. The relationship between Margaret and Jen is explored in sweet and loving depth. Crystal is revealed as bright and ambitious, with an unexpected maternal streak. (Right: Diana Cherkas and Caitlin Duffy)

The final character is Rita, Sara’s mother, who lives in New Zealand, where she is a vintner. She unwittingly has financed the surrogacy and potential arrival of the new baby, believing she was giving money to renovate her daughter’s kitchen. Now she informs Sara and Billy that she is coming to San Francisco for surgery and will be staying with them. The complications are rapidly evolving into a Gordian knot.

Directed with boundless energy by Shelley Delaney, this moves along at a pace that is breathtaking. The ensemble cast performs brilliantly, with special kudos to Clark Scott Carmichael, the only man in the group, who manages not to fall into any of the usual male stereotypes.

Surrogate1SMKatrina Ferguson and Susan Barrett are wonderful as Margaret and Jen, a couple of adults in love and exploring where they belong. As Crystal, Caitlin Duffy gives her character real depth. Diana Cherkas is outstanding as Sara, more than a little rigid and having difficulty figuring out what maternity means to her. And Centenary’s own Catherine Rust is wonderfully ascerbic as Sara’s mother, Rita, driving around the stage in a motorized scooter, spackling a wall while deliver lines that could cut glass. (Above, left: Diana Cherkas and Catherine Rust)

My favorite moment in the play is when Sara comments that her mother has been reading bedtime stories to Tallulah from the obituaries.

This is a very funny play but a deep one as well. If there are any flaws, they have to do with technology. Noises that come from laptops, even if they are actually actors offstage, are often hard to decipher, at least in the back rows of the theater.

We can’t say enough about the brilliance of the stage sets. Turntables (turned, we are told, by human power, because otherwise they make noise) enable the play to be presented on five different sets, designed by Tim Golebiewski, each exquisitely detailed and realistic. I have never seen better sets on any stage.

The Surrogate will run at the Sitnik Theater at the Lackland Performing Arts Center on Centenary’s Hackettstown campus through March 5.

The Surrogate was first presented as part of Centenary’s award-winning Women Playwrights Series in 2016, when it won the Susan Glaspell Award. This is its first full production. This year’s Women Playwrights Series runs April 12, 19 and 26, and is open to the public.

Go to www.centenarystageco.org or call 908-979-0900 for more information about The Surrogate and the upcoming series.

Photos by Robert Eberle.

REVIEW: DELICIOUS, FRANTIC TALE OF ADVENTURE ENTHRALLS @ DREAMCATCHER REP

By Ruth Ross

Tales of exotic adventures have tantalized people for centuries. Marco Polo and Benjamin of Tudela penned memoirs about their travels to the Far East. Nellie Bly chronicled her trip around the world in 80 days. Louis de Rougement wrote one too. The first three may sound familiar, but who is Louis de Rougement?

Louis de Rougement is a historical figure who claimed to have survived 30 years on a remote island where he landed after being shipwrecked. When he returned to society, he became a celebrity, writing and publicly performing tales of his adventures that left late 19th-century English audiences spellbound—that is, until his story began to unravel.

In Shipwrecked: An Entertainment, playwright Donald Margulies uses classical theatrics and storytelling techniques to bring us “The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself).” Now onstage at Dreamcatcher Rep in Summit in a superb production that careens from continent to continent, from ocean to ocean, the show follows the narrator (Louis, himself) as he sets out to discover the world for himself.

On a stage cluttered with a myriad of props and costumes assembled by Laura Ekstrand, three accomplished actors portray 30 different roles, frenetically donning and doffing hats, aprons, vests and jackets, and providing a range of sound effects designed by Jeff Knapp to provide auditory atmosphere to the account. Shadow play and lighting (kudos to Nathan Avakian) further enhance this “fantastic and amazing story.” The result is a delightful vaudeville-style romp that enfolds a serious meditation on how far people are willing to blur the line between fact and fiction in an attempt to leave their mark on the world.

Shipwrecked tells the tale of a sickly boy who leaves home as a teenager, signs on as a mate for a sea captain embarking on a expedition to hunt for pearls in the southern Pacific, only to find himself marooned on a tiny speck of land when a storm wrecks the ship. There he resides for 30 years, marrying and raising a family, until his homesickness becomes so overwhelming that he flags down a passing ship and returns to England.

As Louis, Harry Patrick Christian (top, right) acts as narrator and actor. Onstage and talking nonstop during the 90-minute play, he literally works up a sweat. With infectious and exhausting energy, Christian hooks us with his enthusiasm and wild tales of Louis’ high-seas adventure, told with a wide-eyed innocence that makes him sound very credible, despite some of the fantastical details. Did a monstrous man-eating octopus really grab a fellow sailor and sweep him overboard? Did Louis really ride giant sea turtles? Did he really see flying wombats?

The two other actors, Nicole Callender (above, left, with Christian) and Scott McGowan (left, with Christian as Louis), portray 30 characters, morphing from one to another in the wink of an eye by donning a hat or assuming an accent. McGowan is especially winning as Bruno, a dog who befriends Louis on the ship and also survives the wreck. Callender is hilarious as Louis’ mother and native wife, and she and McGowan have a grand time portraying, among other characters, a pair of snobbish English society matrons as well as various aborigines.

These hijinks are deftly directed by Jack Tamburri at a hectic pace that prevents the action from lagging for even one second. Indeed, we are given no time to really think or question the details of Louis’ account; Christian’s delivery enthralls us and leads us to believe that what he tells us is true. Watching him deflate as his truthfulness is examined in a very funny Q&A session is almost sad.

With all the recent talk of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” Shipwrecked is a worthy exploration of society’s gullibility and propensity for celebrity worshi[. Although the play was written in 2006 about a person who lived over a century before, Donald Margulies reminds us that people really don’t change. Indeed, here in America, P.T. Barnum built an entertainment empire on the cynical idea that “there’s a sucker born every minute.”

The real Louis de Rougement may have been exposed as a fraud, but in Dreamcatcher Rep’s delicious production, we almost don’t mind being conned. At least we’re being entertained in the process—and the effect doesn’t have global ramifications.

Shipwrecked: An Entertainment, will be performed at the Oakes Center, 120 Morris Ave., Summit, through March 5. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM. There will be a talkback with the director and actors immediately following the February 26 matinee. For information and tickets visit www.dreamcatcherrep.org or call Brown Paper Tickets at 800.838.3006.