Documentary Theatrics: I Am My Own Wife’s Archival Deceptions
“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, 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 correlate tangible archive. What becomes of documentary integrity when research and dramatic license collide?”
Polly J. Thistlethwaite (The Graduate Center, City University of New York)
Polly J. Thistlethwaite is Professor & Chief Librarian at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She organized the 2008 ALMS International GLBT Archives Conference and served on CUNY CLAGS Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Board of Directors (2004-2008). She was a Lesbian Herstory Archives collective member (1986-1997), and she has composed several works about GLBT archival history.
The Graduate Center, CUNY is the doctoral degree granting institution of the City University of New York.
Polly will be speaking on day 1 of the conference