Monday, November 21, 2016

Review of About Face Theatre's I Am My Own Wife

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called I Am My Own Wife. It was by Doug Wright, and it was directed by Andrew Volkoff. It was about a woman named Charlotte (Delia Kropp), who was transgender starting in the 1930s, and she was trying to live life as a woman in Nazi Germany and then in Soviet East Germany, neither of which supported LGBT rights at all. It is also about the people--all played by Ninos Baba and Matt Holzfeind--that she meets on her way to and after creating her famous Mahlsdorf museum. This entire play was created because Doug Wright (played in the show by Scott Duff) heard about her and her museum and wanted to interview her. And you find out many interesting stories, but everyone starts questioning their truth. I thought this was an inspiring and great show because this woman has lived through so much oppression but never stepped down from who she wanted to be.

My favorite character is often not the main character, but in this show it definitely is. Charlotte had a very big personality and even if the rumors they were saying were true, I still loved her. She seemed like such a fabulous and brave person and she had such an exciting life. I wish I could have been friends with her. I loved the way that Charlotte would rave about her friends, like each of them was her idol. I also liked how brave she was and how she wouldn't take any crap from anyone. She also told some stories that everyone thought could easily be tall tales. Like she said that she killed her father because he was a Nazi and said he would hurt her mother. It shows that she wanted to protect her mother more than anything, even if it wasn't true that she actually killed her dad. It was so sweet; I really wanted to believe her at all times.

Charlotte was always talking about her aunt and how amazing she was because she was lesbian and liked to dress like man and she understood where Charlotte was coming from. In the scene where she introduces you to her aunt, I instantly found out she had the coolest aunt in the history of the world because her aunt gave her a book that was supposed to help her understand who she really was. The aunt also found Charlotte, when she was a boy, dressed in dresses. Charlotte expects her to go on a rampage, but she doesn't. She helps her. I thought that was a really beautiful moment. And if this character of the aunt is made up, it just shows that Charlotte needed a character like that in her head so that she could continue with her life.

Alfred Kirschner (Holzfeind) was a very interesting man. He was a very good friend of Charlotte and he was also obsessed with gramophones. When Charlotte went over to his house, she found that he had a bunch of gramophones and a bunch of records. And he said something along the lines of, "I have eight thousand records" and she said something like, "Oh, I only have seven...thousand records." I thought that was hilarious and adorable and it was the start of a beautiful friendship. They were both part of the LGBT community in East Berlin. He had a lot of men hanging around his house (all played by Baba) and they would all have very different personalities, but they were all kind of snotty to Charlotte because she was transgender. I was hoping the people in the LGBT community would have been nicer to the T. Alfred goes to jail because he sold illegal clocks with Charlotte. I thought that was kind of ridiculous but also kind of sad. It shows you how much it sucked to live in East Germany at that time. I don't want to think Charlotte sold him out; I do think Alfred would have helped her be safe by taking the fall for them both selling illegal clocks.

People who would like this show are people who like inspiring stories, record hoarders, and illegal clocks. I think people should definitely go see this show. It was a really great and beautiful show, and I really loved it.

Photos: Michael Brosilow

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