Wifely Duties

Fundamentalist Christians, Nazis, Communists: So many groups would bump off gay transvestite furniture collectors if they had their way. In a new production of I Am My Own Wife, Andrew Nance shoulders the job of portraying Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a gay transvestite furniture collector who lived through the Nazi and Communist regimes in Berlin, as well as 30-some minor characters. Doug Wright carved the Pulitzer-winning one-person play out of hours of interviews he conducted with the real-life von Mahlsdorf, and from the files on her kept by the Stasi, the East German secret police, who claimed that this otherwise lovable lady in a man's skin had been one of its willing informers. Are we to believe them? If so, would we have been able to cast the first stone if we had lived von Mahlsdorf's life? Those who see themselves as brave underdogs fighting large, homogenous, oppressive regimes — that's you, according to our secret files — tend to identify with the guy in the pearls.
Jan. 25-March 2, 8 p.m., 2008

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