About Face Theatre, Chicago’s preeminent LGBT-focused theater company, will stage a reimagined production of Doug Wright’s play I Am My Own Wife this fall. The piece, based on the real life of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, an East German transgender woman who survived both the Nazi and Communist regimes, had a developmental production at About Face in 2002 before going on to Off Broadway and Broadway runs.
Originally written as a solo play, I Am My Own Wife won Wright the 2004 Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize, as well as a Tony for actor Jefferson Mays. About Face’s new staging, helmed by artistic director Andrew Volkoff, will feature transgender actor Delia Kropp and two additional actors. “Working with Delia and the two other actors removes the virtuosity from the piece, focusing instead on Doug Wright’s fantastic text, re-emphasizing Charlotte’s narrative, and creating new visibility for her in this context,” Volkoff said in a press release. “Wright, who has remained a loyal AFT supporter, has given us his blessing to cast the role in this way.” The production will run November 4–December 10.
Next on tap for About Face’s three-play season is the Chicago premiere of The Temperamentals, a play by Jon Marans about the founding of the early gay-rights group the Mattachine Society (January 13–February 18); reviewing the play’s Off Broadway production in 2010, my Time Out New York colleague Adam Feldman wrote that The Temperamentals “makes a strong case for the quiet radicalism and messy courage of the Mattachine founders.”
Rounding out the season is the Chicago premiere of Tanya Barfield’s Bright Half Life (May 26–July 1, 2017), to be directed by Keira Fromm. The two-character play about a modern lesbian relationship, which last week won the 2016 Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Drama, will feature About Face artistic associate Elizabeth Ledo. All three plays will be staged at Lakeview’s Theater Wit.