CRT Downtown Presents The Pulitzer Prize Winning Play “I Am My Own Wife”

Posted by  //  March 15, 2016  //  Local Business

Cortland Repertory Theatre Downtown is proud to present the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning drama I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright, as the new theatrical venue in downtown Cortland continues to show its versatility. “We’ve been very happy with the variety of productions we’ve been able to produce in our new downtown space,” says Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson. “So far we’ve had concerts, dances, a musical and a winter wonderland.  As we planned our expansion, this kind of thought-provoking, dramatic style of work is another genre that we’ve wanted to showcase in this new space.  This style of play on this professional level is unlike anything else offered in the county.”  I Am My Own Wife is a one-actor, 35-character story and will be performed for 8 performances only:  March 31, April 1 – 2, and 6 – 9 at 7:30 and Sunday, April 3 at 2:00.  Tickets are $25 for adults and seniors, and $20 for students with a valid ID.

Based on true occurrences, I Am My Own Wife tells the fascinating story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, (1928-2002) a German transvestite who managed to survive both the WWII Nazi onslaught and the repressive East German Communist regime that followed. Born in Berlin as a biological male named Lothar Berfelde but self-identified as female from an early age, Berfelde corrected what he considered to be a “mistake of nature” at the age of 15 when he publicly adopted female dress.  Despite the dire risks involved, he changed his name to Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, and openly defied rigid gender norms by dressing as a woman under two of the most repressive totalitarian regimes in history–Nazism, and the Soviet-style Communism of East Germany prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall. In addition, Charlotte went on to turn her passion for collecting gramophone records, antique clocks, and late 19th century German furniture into a museum in her large stone house in the Berlin suburb of Mahlsdorf. Not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall, playwright Doug Wright began a conversation with von Mahlsdorf, who at that time was viewed as an elegant and eccentric 65-year-old woman. The play is a compilation of those interviews in which Wright uses more than 30 characters – including himself – to piece together Charlotte’s controversial life. The winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play, I Am My Own Wife is a profound story of survival.

Portraying all the characters in CRT’s production is Jason Guy, an Actor’s Equity Union member, in his CRT debut.  Guy has performed nationally and internationally with such reputable companies as The National Shakespeare Company (Hamlet, Twelfth Night), Camp May Playhouse (God of Carnage), Northern Stage (Amadeus) and Arkansas Rep (The 39 Steps).  He has also performed in two seasons at the American Shakespeare Center in Julius Caesar and Richard III and proving his versatility, toured Europe with the musicals Singin’ in the Rain and 42nd Street, and in Korea with Annie.

Directing the production is long-time CRT affiliate Bill Kincaid, taking a brief break from his position as Professor of Theatre and Head of Acting at Western Illinois University. Kincaid’s direction has been previously seen on the CRT summer stage in such productions as Chicago, The Drawer Boy, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, and A Few Good Men, amongst others.  He also directed and performed as Cosmo McMoon in CRT’s production of Souvenir.

The play will be performed in-the-round with a scenic and prop design by Sam Sheehan, lighting design by Eric Behnke, costume design by Mark Reynolds and sound design by Seth Asa Sengel.

Tickets for I Am My Own Wife are currently on sale by calling 800-427-6160, or online at, or by visiting CRT Downtown, 24 Port Watson Street in Cortland.  Box Office hours are Monday thru Friday from 9:00 – 4:00.

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