Signature Theatre I Am My Own WifeBy Mark Lee Adams • Jan 21st, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA
Through March 7th
Reviewed January 17, 2010
I Am My Own Wife is a two hour one man show. An actor’s delight. Written by Doug Wright and is about the real-life story of Charlotte van Mahlsdorf, a German transvestite who managed to survive both Nazi rule and the repressive East German Communist regime. A play with 36 characters all wonderfully created and portrayed by Andrew Long, a Helen Hayes Award-winner.
Andrew Long gently guides us through the story of Charlotte, softly introducing each character with a distinctive quality, making it easier for the viewer to discern who was talking to whom. From slight changes in accent, posture and voice inflections to donning one of what seemed like Charlotte’s dress. I was captured by Andrew’s likeable characters and wanted to know more about Charlotte and the others as the play grew. Telling a story of this magnitude is a doting task, but Andrew Long holds the audience from the top of the show and doesn’t let go until Charlotte’s life is over. It was truly a pleasure to watch and learn from this artist.
Directed softly and warmly by a Washington local, Alan Paul, this play is a delight. With scenic designer Wilson Chin, costume designer Kathleen Geldard, lighting designer Colin K. Bills, and sound designer Veronika Vorel. I liked the lighting touches of illuminating the crates as they were described by Andrew Long. Also noted specials and moods were subtly created and appreciated. The set was perfect for this play. Every piece looked authentic. I could’ve done without the little mini set of the bar. Andrew Long, speaking the words written by Doug Wright, gave me so much more than any visual aid could’ve done. Costumes, both of them, were perfect. Special thanks to the sound design of Veronika Vorel. Wow! All too often, especially in a small black box theatre such as The Ark, it would’ve been easy to overpower the audience with your sound. Brilliant undertones of sound effects are heard in this production along with just the right tones, as if completely in tune with Andrew’s voice. Maybe the SM deserves a tip of my hat as well. Thank you William E. Cruttenden III.
This play is will bring you into the life a Charlotte von Mahlsdorf at a young age and take you through his/her life. I left the theatre wanting to know more about this intriguing person. It was a truly an enjoyable experience watching a great local artist perform such a memorable play.
Photos by Scott Suchman for the Signature Theatre.
- Andrew Long
- Scenic Design: Wilson Chin
- Costume Design: Kathleen Geldard
- Lighting Design: Colin K. Bills
- Sound Design: Veronika Vorel
- Production Stage Manager: William E. Cruttenden III
- Production Manager: Timothy H. O’Connell
- Dialects: Gary Logan
- Directed By: Alan Paul
Disclaimer: Signature Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/4519.
Mark Lee Adams has been involved in theatre for over 40 years in the local Washington DC Metro area as well as NYC and London England. Mark has performed at the Dramatist Guild Theatre on Broadway, at The Dorothy Strelsin Theatre Off-Broadway. His credits include work in many local theatres as well: The Folger Theatre Group, Arena Stage, New Playwrights Theatre, 7th Street Players, The Keegan Theatre, The American Century Theatre, The Journeyman Theatre, ASTA Theatre, The Hayloft Dinner Theatre (Associate Producer), The Lazy Susan Theatre, Discovery Channels, "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" (Frankenstein) with Donald Sutherland. London, England credits include work at: The Duke of York Theatre, Roundhouse Theatre, The Questors Theatre, The British Embassy Players. Mark is a graduate of The Drama Studio, London, England. Mark is also a narrator of audio books for Gildan Audio: “True North”, by Bill George; “Never Give Up”, by Tedy Bruschi and “Five Minds for the Future”, by Howard Gardner among them. Mark currently teaches Advanced Acting at The Little Theatre of Alexandria and still performs locally in many theatres.