Inspired by interviews conducted by the playwright over several years, I Am My Own Wife tells the fascinating real-life story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a German transvestite who managed to survive both Nazi rule and the repressive East German Communist regime.
Von Mahlsdorf was an iconic figure who created a safe-space in the bowels of her antiques museum for East Berlin ‘s “undesirables” – homosexuals, cross-dressers, and prostitutes. But in order to survive, she sacrificed her ideals – becoming an informer for the East German secret police, the Stasi.
In this demanding one man performance, the award-winning Andrew Long (My Fair Lady, Saving Aimee) portrays Charlotte ‘s complexity – a non-conformist shrouded in an image of conformity; a protector of minorities who ultimately becomes their betrayer. The discovery that she had survived only by informing on her friends and protégés to the East German secret police caused many – including playwright Doug Wright – to question their own definitions of survival and fidelity.
By Doug Wright
Directed by Alan Paul
Starring Helen Hayes Award Winner Andrew Long