You have scant time to witness a live and local performance of the winner of 2004’s Pulitzer and Tony Awards, Doug Wright’s fascinating one-person play I Am My Own Wife. It’s at Performing Artists Repertory Theatre. 

Actor John Hatcher appears for only three days in what is based on a true story. Elegant, eccentric 65 year-old Charlotte von Mahlsdorf  tells of her life as a transvestite who survived the Nazi and subsequent East German Communist regimes. Wright got the story first- hand from antiquarian von Mahlsdorf, born Lothar Berfelde, who killed her father when she was a young child. The performance calls for the actor to portray many people.  

The title of the play is the English one for von Mahlsdorf’s autobiography, first issued in 1992. The Broadway production ran nearly nine months.

This is “a portrait of a formidable survivor,” said the Chicago Tribune  “ a reminder of the necessity for personal force of will” and “the random nature of who is allowed to continue unabated with their life.” This play, it adds “makes very clear that oppressive societies invariably invest power in those on the ground making the life-and-death decisions,” adding “there is a lot more to this piece.”

I Am My Own Wife is at Performing Artists Repertory Theatre January 26-28, Crossroads Mall, e 7400 Dodge Street Friday & Saturday: 7 p.m. Sunday: 2 p.m. Tickets: $25-$35.

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