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I Am My Own Wife

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · March 2nd, 2005 · Curtain Call
Todd Almond plays 35 characters in I Am My Own Wife at ETC.
Sandy Underwood

Todd Almond plays 35 characters in I Am My Own Wife at ETC.

When D. Lynn Meyers, producing artistic director at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (ETC), approached actor TODD ALMOND about performing the one-actor show I AM MY OWN WIFE, he thought, "Her opinion of me must be too high! There's no way I can do this!" But Meyers convinced Almond, who twice starred in Hedwig and the Angry Inch at ETC (earning two Cincinnati Entertainment Awards), to take on the 35-character play based on Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a German transvestite who survived the Nazis and the Communists in Germany. Doug Wright's 2004 Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning play opens at ETC this week, the first theater in the U.S. to secure regional rights to the show. Almond says it's about "an outsider and a criminal whose life was so domestic and simple. She collected furniture, but she was a rebel -- out of necessity, almost in spite of herself." Faced with memorizing an 80-page script, Almond says, "This play is so beautifully and expertly written that it's not hard to keep hold of the story.

There's not a lot of fat. It's like a piece of music with sections -- one thing leads you to the next." Meyers' direction has bolstered Almond's confidence. He says, "I'm learning that falling on your face and taking chances, even if you're embarrassed, is worth it. (As a performer) you're always self-conscious, but when it's just you that can't happen. There's no later -- it's now." Based on advance sales for I Am My Own Wife, now is also the time to call the box office. The show's limited run ends March 20. Tickets: 513-421-3555. ...

Listen to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED on WGUC (FM 90.9) or WNKU (FM 89.7) late on Thursday afternoon for the first seven installments of AMERCAN STAGES, a series about regional theaters across the U.S. This week the series begins with an introduction of the regional theater movement and its importance -- 30 of the last 32 Pulitzer Prize winners for drama originated at regional theaters like the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

At the CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE in the world premiere of John Yearley's Leap, the geography of loss is a tough map to navigate, a lesson learned by every character. An unnamed man takes advantage of the chaos of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City to walk away his deteriorating life. But what he learns along the way, through the example of an extraordinarily odd family, is that the strings of attachment aren't so easily cut. The show uses absurdist humor and a zany, odd-angled set with a floor of jumbled concrete shards. (Rick Pender) Grade: B+NEW EDGECLIFF THEATRE's zesty production of Lives of the Saints enters the full-tilt wacko imagination of writer David Ives. For example, a vintage English vicarage mystery, in which the line "even the sofa wanted him dead," seems utterly sensible. The victim had, after all, been having an affair with the sofa while casting seductive glances at the carpet. This is sweetly realized, wittily verbalized foolishness directed with wicked sharpness by director Elizabeth A. Harris. At heart, Ives' keenly, cleanly strung words are the meat of the evening's success. As precise as passages in a fugue, his sentences crackle with wit and more than a little wisdom about human folly that is very much of this universe. (Tom McElfresh) Grade: A

KNOW THEATRE TRIBE is offering a powerful production of 4.48 Psychosis, a play by Sarah Kane, who battled mental illness most of her life before her untimely suicide in 1999 at the age of 28. Director Jason Bruffy has crafted an experimental production without a traditional script, plot or even characters. The text is actually a stream-of-consciousness poem about mental breakdown. This rendition is high-tech but judiciously spare, with actors using a hand-held video camera to film one another, yielding a duality that simulates a psychotic reality. (Mark Sterner) Grade: A



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