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I Am My Own Wife

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I Am My Own Wife

I Am My Own Wife
Original Lyceum Theatre window card, 2003
Written by Doug Wright
Characters Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, et al.
Date premiered 27 May 2003
Place premiered Playwrights Horizons
New York City, New York
Original language English
Subject A biography of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf
Genre Drama
Setting Berlin, Germany

I Am My Own Wife is a play by Doug Wright based on his conversations with German Charlotte von Mahlsdorf. The one-man play premiered Off-Broadway in 2003 at Playwrights Horizons. It opened on Broadway later that year. The play was developed with Moisés Kaufman and his Tectonic Theater Project, and Kaufman also acted as director. Jefferson Mays starred in the Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, playing some forty roles. Wright received the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the work.

I Am My Own Wife (or I Am My Own Woman) is also the English title of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf's autobiography, first issued in 1992, translated in 1995.


  • Plot synopsis 1
  • Productions 2
  • Awards and nominations 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

Plot synopsis

I Am My Own Wife is an examination of the life of German antiquarian Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, born Lothar Berfelde, who killed her father when she was a young child and survived the Nazi and Communist regimes in East Berlin as a transvestite.


In 2004, the play had its European premiere at Montreal. It also ran at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, starring Helen Hayes award winner Andrew Long, and directed by Alan Paul, and at Theater Three[1] in Port Jefferson, New York, featuring Jeffrey Sanzel.

Between May 6 and May 23, 2009, it played in Tasmania at the Earl Arts Centre[2] in Launceston, and the Theatre Royal, Hobart Backspace, produced by the Tasmanian Theatre Company,[3] and featuring Robert Jarman.

In the Czech Republic, the play was premiered in 2008 by Divadlo Letí[4] in Prague, starring Pavol Smolárik. At the same time it was also staged by a Czech non-professional theater group[5] with Libor Ulovec in the role. The latter was awarded the Best Czech Non-Professional Drama Performance 2009 and Libor Ulovec received (among others) the Best Czech Non-Professional Actor Prize 2009.

In Mexico it is starring by the actor Hector Bonilla who, on January 23, 2010, accomplished 100 performances, with 89 standing ovations by that time. It was also performed in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, at Gettysburg Stage starring actor Eric Jones.

In Greece, I Am My Own Wife[6] had its premiere in January 2011, in Bios Basement, Athens.[7] It was produced by Degreezero[8] Theatre Company, translated and directed by Iossif Vardakis and performed by Haris Attonis with the original music of Marietta Fafouti who also composed a special song for the show, named "Ich Erinnere Mich"[9] — lyrics by Dimitris Dimopoulos. It went on for 20 performances and carried on for the following season, moving to 104[10] theatre, in Athens and opening in November 2011 for the second run. It has received great acceptance and outstanding critiques both for the whole of the show but for Haris Attonis' exceptional performance, as well. The play itself and the story of Charlotte are very well-timed with the political and social situation in Greece. The staging itself is very minimal and it's been considered to be one of the most emotional presentations, internationally and there have been innovations like the beard and the lack of the head scarf, for the very first time. Haris Attonis won the 2012 Best Male Theatre Performance Award for I Am My Own Wife in Athens Voice Best Choice and Audience Awards and Marietta Fafouti won the 2012 Best Original Theatre Music for I Am My Own Wife in the Gay Theatre Awards.

Awards and nominations

  • 2004: Drama Desk Award for Best New Play
  • 2004: Drama League Award for Best Play
  • 2004: Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Solo Show
  • 2004: Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  • 2004: Tony Award for Best Play (Won)
  • 2004: Tony Award for Best Lead Actor in a Play (Won)
  • 2004: Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play
  • 2004: Lambda Literary Award for Drama


  1. ^ "Playing now". Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  2. ^ "?". 
  3. ^ Wright, Doug (June 22–26, 20??). "I Am My Own Wife". Tasmanian Theatre Company. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Divadlo Letí homepage". 
  5. ^ "Soliteater homepage". 
  6. ^ ‍ '​s Greek production page"I Am My Own Wife". 
  7. ^ "Bios Theatre, Athens". 
  8. ^ "Degreezero Theatre Company homepage". 
  9. ^ "Ich Erinnere Mich Video by Marietta Fafouti".  
  10. ^ "104 Theatre homepage". 
  • Jefferson Mays (June 25, 2004). (Audio). Interview with American Theatre Wing. Downstage Center Retrieved June 29, 2008. 

Further reading

  • Mays, Jefferson; Von Mahlsdorf, Charlotte (2004). I Am My Own Wife: Studies for a Play about the Life of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf. New York: Faber and Faber.  
  • Mahlsdorf, Charlotte von; Hollander, Jean (translation) (1995). I Am My Own Woman: The Outlaw Life of Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf (translated 1st ed.). San Francisco:

External links

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