I Am My Own Wife


Writers: Doug Wright


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Drama, Historical/Biographical
Contemporary, Multiple Settings, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
A simple square room. Scenes take place in Germany and the United States at various points from the 1940s to the 1990s.
Cast Size
Orchestra Size
Ideal for
Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre, Small Cast, Star Vehicle Male, All-Male Cast
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes adult, late teen, young adult characters


In early 1993, playwright Doug Wright visited Mahlsdorf, Germany, to interview Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, who curated a trove of items from various points in time throughout German history. His interviews (and his own fascination with) von Mahlsdorf eventually evolved into I Am My Own Wife, a “tour de force” one-man show in which a singular actor portrays 35 different characters, including of course von Mahlsdorf herself. Von Mahlsdorf and her story are in many ways tailor-made for the theatre: she is an eccentric outsider who survived both the Nazi and Communist regimes as a transgender woman. I Am My Own Wife is Wright’s magnum opus and won him both the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The one-man play is a breathtaking journey through Charlotte’s life, primarily focusing on her experiences during the Communist regime of East Germany and the controversy that surrounded her following revelations that she was a spy for that very regime. But, like Charlotte herself, her story is complicated. The play is as much about a writer’s fascination with his subject as it is his subject itself. Through 35 different characters, Wright unravels Charlotte’s history with the richness of a historian and the theatrical potency of a seasoned playwright, while leaving the ambiguity of her story intact.

Lead Characters

I Am My Own Wife guide sections