‘I Am My Own Wife’: Living in drag in Nazi Germany

Charlie DelMarcelle in Theatre Horizon’s “I Am My Own Wife.” Credit: Plate 3 Photography
Charlie DelMarcelle in Theatre Horizon’s “I Am My Own Wife.”
Credit: Plate 3 Photography

Charlie DelMarcelle likens his role – or, more accurately, roles: 35 of them to be exact – in Doug Wright’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “I Am My Own Wife” to “one of those old cartoons where you’re crossing a rickety rope bridge over a pool of lava — just don’t look down.”

The play recounts the true story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, who was born a man but lived under the Nazis and Communists disguised as a woman. She saved household items from bombed-out houses, eventually founding Berlin’s Gründerzeit Museum with her collection. Wright’s own journey to meet her becomes an integral part of the play, which reflects Charlotte’s secret identity by having one actor play every part.

“The play deals with the facades and the masks that we build for ourselves,” says DelMarcelle. “It’s concerned with both the way an individual chooses to present themselves to the world and the way we choose to see other people and the representations they’ve created for our benefit. So one person playing all these different parts makes a great deal of sense.”

Beyond the challenge of, as DelMarcelle describes it, “showing up on the first day of rehearsal and being handed a script and told, ‘That’s for you,’” there’s also the simple fact that a one-man show eliminates one of the essential components of theatrical acting: collaboration. “It’s going to be really lonely,” DelMarcelle says. “I go in, stare at myself in the mirror in the dressing room, say goodbye at the end of the night and walk to my car with the sad music from ‘Charlie Brown’ playing.”

Despite the pure theatricality of the production, which keeps DelMarcelle in a simple black dress and headscarf throughout, suggesting the parade of other characters with a change in posture or an arched eyebrow, the actor says that the show harkens back to a most basic form of storytelling. “If you’re out at a restaurant having a drink or at a family gathering, we all do a bit of light roleplaying when we tell stories. We take on the physicality or voice of the people we’re talking about. This is that, taken to some really extreme levels, with a little more polish and rehearsal.”

“I Am My Own Wife”
Nov. 7-24
Theatre Horizon
401 DeKalb St., Norristown
$25-$35, 610-283-2230
www.theatrehorizon.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.