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Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 4:30pm to 5:30pm
Cornell Library Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, 2B Kroch Library
Doug Wright’s 2004 Pulitzer and Tony-winning I Am My Own Wife features one actor in a simple black dress embodying more than 30 characters, principally “Charlotte,” Berlin’s well-known transvestite, raconteur, and museum founder, and “Doug,” the playwright/researcher himself. The play is based on Wright’s personal encounter with Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (1927-2002), and it bears the hallmarks of documentary theatre: insider eyewitness reporting, a basis on actual people and events, reliance on oral history, and citation and display of evidence. Instead, focusing on Charlotte von Mahlsdorf’s dramatized deficits of candor, as Wright does, we swivel the spotlight to scrutinize Wright’s dramatized archive and its correlated tangible archive. What becomes of documentary integrity when research and dramatic license collide?