I recently reviewed a production of I AM MY OWN WIFE, playing at Fort Lauderdale's Parker Playhouse. You may read that review, posted here, within Broadwayworld's Florida Regional Site. Below is a story about another, different production of this play, soon to open at Sarasota's Florida Studio Theatre.
Proving the adage that truth is stranger than fiction, I Am My Own Wife
tells the true story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a transvestite who
murdered her own father and survived the Nazi and East German regimes. Written
by Doug Wright, the Tony award and Pulitzer Prize-winning play comes to
FST's Stage III Season beginning March 1, 2006.
Born Lothar Berfelde, Charlotte grew up to become a self-described
"collector of culture." She turned her house into a museum where she
preserved recordings, art, gramophones and other bric-a-brac that was
routinely discarded. Despite being a transvestite living first among
Nazis and later among communists, Charlotte not only survived but flourished.
Author Doug Wright first became interested in Charlotte's story when he
read her autobiography, I Am My Own Wife: The Outlaw Life of Charlotte von
Mahlsdorf, Berlin's Most Famous Transvestite.
I Am My Own Wife tells not only Charlotte's story but Wright's as well.
Wright becomes a character in his own play as one actor brings to life
35 characters in this touching, insightful and funny play. As Wright
uncovers Charlotte's story, he learns that survival often forces people to lie -
not only about themselves, but to themselves. I Am My Own Wife is a
history of quiet but determined fortitude in the face of the 20th century's most
Florida Studio Theatre is fortunate that the three people who brought
Wright's story to life at the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati will do
the same for the FST Stage III series. Director D. Lynn Meyers will
re-stage the show with Todd Almond, who appeared in the production at ETC. The
production at ETC was historic as Ms. Meyers was the first director
since Moises Kaufman to direct the I Am My Own Wife, and Todd Almond was the first actor to play Charlotte since Jeffrey Mays, who originated the role on
Broadway. Rebecca Senske's costumes from the original ETC production
will be used.
"This story is essential," says Meyers about I Am My Own Wife.
"Charlotte...is someone who defies logic in terms of survival. From
her we learn survival is triumphant. Beauty is contained in the soul as well
as the objects. Our past need not dictate our future."
"Charlotte had a fascinating life that was at once both dangerous and
utterly simple," says Mr. Almond. "Her purpose, as she sees it, is to
dust beautiful objects and keep them safe. And yet she lives as a constant
outsider in the most oppressive regimes of the 20th century. I'm in
love with her story - and the theatrical telling of this story is, for me,
one of the greatest and most exhilarating challenges I've had."
Mr. Almond has appeared in a number of productions at ETC, including
Hedwig and the Angry Inch, James and Arnie, Vigil, The Last Session and The
Shriker. Now living in New York City, Mr. Almond recently performed in
the Off-Broadway production of People Are Wrong.
Ms. Meyers is the Producing Artistic Director at Ensemble Theatre of
Cincinnati. Her directing credits include Steel Magnolias at Garry
Marshall's Falcon Theatre in Los Angeles and the Off-Broadway
productions of Traveler in the Dark by Marsha Norman and Max and Maxie by James McClure. She has also directed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Capitol
Repertory, Stage West in Calgary and Toronto and the Mayfield Theatre
in Edmonton. Her ETC credits include Sight Unseen, James and Arnie and
Doug Wright, who won a number of awards for I Am My Own Wife including
the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award for Best Play, is also the
author of the award winning play Quills. Mr. Wright penned the screenplay for
the movie version of Quills, which was nominated for three Academy Awards.
His work has been seen throughout the country at Lincoln Center, the
Vineyard Theater and Playwrights Horizon, among others. He is a member of the
Dramatists Guild, the Writer's Guild of America, East and the Society
of Stage Directors and Choreographers.
I Am My Own Wife begins March 1 and runs through March 24, 2006 at
FST's Gompertz Theatre, as a part of the FST Stage III Season. Tickets are
$29-34 may be purchased from the FST Box Office in person or by calling (941)
Plays in the Stage III series explore adult themes and issues. They
may not be suitable for all audience members. I Am My Own Wife contains some
adult content which audience members may find disturbing. Viewer discretion
I Am My Own Wife
March 1 - 24, 2006
Wednesday, March 1 7:30 p.m. (Preview)
Thursday, March 2 7:30 p.m. (Preview)
Friday, March 3 7:30 p.m. (Opening)
Saturday, March 4 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 5 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 7 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 8 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 9 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 10 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 5:30 & 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 12 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 14 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 15 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 16 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 17 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 18 5:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 19 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 21 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 22 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 23 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 24 7:30 p.m.