I Am My Own Wife

Previewed 4 November 2005, Opened 10 November 2005, Closed 10 December 2005 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London

A major production of Doug Wright's play I Am My Own Wife in London starring Jefferson Mays and directed by Moises Kaufman.

I Am My Own Wife tells of author Doug Wright's fascination with the life of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a German transvestite who was caught up in the great European dramas of the 20th century. Unlike many contemporaries, von Mahlsdorf survived the Nazi regime and its replacement in East Germany, the Soviet-dominated Communist dictatorship.

Direct from Broadway, Jefferson Mays recreates his role portraying more than 40 characters in a work that explores the will to survive. I Am My Own Wife played an eleven months season at Broadway's Lyceum when it won the Tony Awards for 'Best Play' and 'Best Actor' (for Jefferson Mays) as well as The Pulitzer Prize for Drama. This production is directed by Moises Kaufman.

"You would be hard-pressed to find anything as impeccably structured as this, or an actor as energetic and accomplished as Jefferson Mays. This is a one-man show and Mays segues from one character to the next and back again like an old pro impersonator, getting a great deal of comedy out of his switches between 74-year-old Charlotte in her orthopaedic boots and 42-year-old Doug Wright, the plays author who tells Charlottes story through the transcripts of their meetings." The Sunday Telegraph

"Jefferson Mays is particularly impressive as Charlotte, but also manages to be believable as a reptilian talk-show host, dozens of different male Americans, each with a different regional accent, a Brit, a Japanese, and lots of Germans. He brings these characters to life while wearing Charlotte's unflattering black dress and pearls with a headscarf... Like all good raconteurs, Charlotte told her stories well, usually in the same words and with the same inflections every time. Mays' performance is, and is meant to be, a tour de force." The Daily Express

"Last year on Broadway, Doug Wright's odd little one-man show I Am My Own Wife - the true story of a man who somehow survived Nazi and Communist regimes in a black dress, clumpy shoes and a string of pearls - was deluged in prizes. All I can add to that flood of Tonys and the Pulitzer is a bucket of cold water. By the time Wright found Charlotte von Mahlsdorf in Berlin, she had become an institution, having created a museum of clocks and phonographs. However, it was this tranny-granny herself who was the museum's star attraction. Wright was fascinated by this character and his/her stories. Charlotte had killed her father, who didn't approve of his little boy wearing dresses, and had escaped from prison. Moreover, this extraordinary person also colluded with the Stasi and shopped one of her friends. Jefferson Mays plays all the characters, including the smitten Wright, with fluency and skill. For all her superficial meekness, his Charlotte comes across as a steely hausfrau you wouldn't dare short-change. But neither he nor Wright gets beyond the research, nor deep enough beneath Charlotte's contradictions to reveal more than a curiosity. Important questions are not posed, never mind answered. Hagiography, even when dressed up in a bizarre frock, is not the same as drama." The Mail on Sunday

"I Am My Own Wife is the most stirring new work to appear on Broadway this fall. With nothing to recommend it but a story that is both moving and intellectually absorbing, a staging that is both careful and lovely and a performance that is a true tour de force, we should all hope that theatergoers prove that it belongs there." The New York Times

I Am My Own Wife in London at the Duke of York's Theatre previewed from 4 November 2005, opened on 10 November 2005 and closed on 10 December 2005.