DORSET -- "I Am My Own Wife," the winner of the 2004 Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is as much about its playwright as it is about the protagonist of his story. After the Berlin Wall crumbles, American playwright Doug Wright sets out for East Germany; here, he begins his first of many interviews with Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a charming, elderly, antiquarian transvestite living alone in her Grunderzeit museum as both collector and curator. Set designer, Drew Hill and lighting designer, Angie Merwin, have created an atmosphere never before realized on the stage of The Dorset Playhouse. Charlotte’s Grunderzeit museum holds secrets rivaling those of her own life.
Doug Wright takes the audience on Charlotte’s journey with the help of more than thirty characters, all played masterfully by one actor, Tom Ferguson.
Tom studied acting at Boston University School for the Arts and spent many years living in New York City before settling in Vermont. In September of 2013, director Sherry Kratzer got rehearsals underway in an old red schoolhouse in Arlington. After more than six laborious months spent with his script and German coach, Elizabeth Karet, Ferguson is ready to share Charlotte’s singular story of unlikely survival. Karet spent part of her childhood living in Germany and has been relentless in her quest to teach an ex-New Yorker raised in Connecticut and educated in Boston, to sound like he has never spent a day west of the Berlin Wall.
Cleverly positioned among this story’s many characters, is the playwright.
Doug quickly becomes enamored of Charlotte’s ability to survive as a cross-dresser through two of history’s most repressive regimes, the Nazis and then the Communists. During Wright’s almost-reverent research, he realizes that he should have been asking, "How?" all along. "How did she survive?" With this "how?" comes the onslaught of unanswered questions.
Wright leaves the audience to decide what is true, to define truth itself, by way of his art. Today, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf is dead; fact or fiction, her account of history will be seen and heard in every performance of "I Am My Own Wife." Her account will endure. Just like the sign Wright encountered as he drove past the rubble of the fallen Berlin Wall, this show sings, "Art Survives." "I Am My Own Wife" will be playing at The Dorset Playhouse on March 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. and on March 9 and 16 at 2 p.m.
Reception will follow the opening night performance with food and drink provided by Thyme Savor Foods, the proud sponsor of this production. Reserve or buy your tickets online now at dorsetplayers.org or call 802-867-5777 starting Feb. 28.