Sunday, October 7, 2012

Zoetic Stage: I Am My Own Wife (reviews)

Zoetic Stage opened its production I Am My Own Wife at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on October 4, 2012.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play, Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife is the astonishing story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a Berlin transvestite, who survived first the Nazis and then the Communists - as a woman.

With Carbonell-Award winning actor Tom Wahl portraying the elegant Charlotte and more than 30 other characters, I Am My Own Wife is a remarkable one-man tour de force - strikingly political and beautifully humane.
Stuart Meltzer directed Tom Wahl.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Miami’s Zoetic Stage has just begun its third season with a riveting production of Wright’s play in the Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. With the loss of several important South
Florida companies, Zoetic is ascending at just the right time, becoming another valuable player on the scene...
Wahl, who has proven himself equally adept at drama and comedy, draws on both skill sets in I Am My Own Wife.
In a performance clearly shaped by his collaboration with director Stuart Meltzer, Wahl pulls off innumerable moments of transformation. One moment, he’s the energetic, Texas-raised Wright. Then, with a swivel of one hand, he becomes Charlotte – older, more feminine, decidedly German.
Though it’s Wahl out there doing the artistic heavy lifting, Zoetic’s design team has given him has given him a striking, fascinating environment in which to play. Michael McKeever’s beautiful set is like Charlotte herself: a fa├žade hiding secrets and old treasures. Luke Klingberg’s lighting is precise, revelatory and emotionally communicative. Costume designer Alberto Arroyo provides Charlotte’s signature getup, and Meltzer’s sound design supplies the sounds of World War II, romantic old recordings and so much more.
Hap Erstein reviewed for Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
Now on at Miami’s Arsht Center in a Zoetic Stage production featuring Tom Wahl as von Mahlsdorf and another 30 characters or so, it is an evening built solidly on first-rate writing and a superb performance.
Wahl immerses himself in these characterizations, but none more fully than Charlotte. Wearing a severe black dress, a string of pearls, orthopedic shoes and a black kerchief on his skull, he is the picture of grandmotherly demeanor, demure until he opens his mouth and stories of suffered brutality pour out.
Zoetic makes good use of the Arsht Studio space, imposing a traditional proscenium set-up on which Michael McKeever has designed a see-through scenic representation of Charlotte’s home/museum, a series of memory box treasures. It is always difficult knowing where the credit belongs for a one-person play between the performer and director, but both Wahl and his collaborator, Stuart Meltzer, have rendered this exceptional play with all of its considerable impact.
Michelle F. Solomon wrote for Florida Theater On Stage:
Zoetic Stage’s production of Doug Wright’s fascinating character study of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a transvestite who survived the Nazis and Communists in East Berlin, honors this mesmerizing one-person play by treating it as gently as the antiques that we watch von Mahlsdorf caress and cuddle like fragile babies.
The art-installation inspired set by Zoetic Stage’s co-founder Michael McKeever, which houses von Mahlsdorf’s museum collection of treasures, is beautifully rendered. Just about everything in this production is carefully curated.
If you pick up Wright’s script, he ...advises that distinctions between the characters are not made with costume changes... but more subtly, through “stance, posture and gesture, and changes in the tonal quality and pitch of the voice.” Wahl masters the monumental feat...
Any actor playing such a demanding part needs a director to guide and support him, and Meltzer’s direction shows through in this production.
Zoetic Stage presents I Am My Own Wife at the Arsht Center through October 21, 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment