Museum. Furniture. Man. This was the order in which Charlotte Von Mahlesdorf lived her life. Living through the harsh period of the Second World War, Mahlesdorf explained how each of these three subjects caused her to live through times of great joy and great tragedy. Disregarding the strict regime of the controlling Nazis and communists, Mahlesdorf continued to house antique furniture in her own private museum, as well as make the personal decision to dress as what she wanted by her own standards, and not by ones that had been branded through the ideal of western society.
Nick DeSantis as Charlotte von Mahlsdorf in I Am My Own Wife. Photo by Matthew Durham.
This play, I Am My Own Wife, was a brilliantly constructed one-man play in which the actor, Nick Desantis, was able to play as many as three characters all at once. Whatever particular role he played in however, he still kept on the attire of Charlotte Von Mahlesdorf: a dress that consisted of a black skirt running down to ankle length, and a black blouse, accentuating two protruding lumps (that could easily and skillfully be mistaken as breasts). She wore white pearls dangling around her neck, black shoes, and a black handkerchief wrapped around her head, a wardrobe that was able to remind the audience of how much Mahlesdorf not only shined through this play, but also into the period in which she once lived. She was in many respects a true Berlin original.
May 23rd, 2008
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