On Friday evening, Joshua and I and my middle brother remained downtown after work and attended a performance of Doug Wright’s play, “I Am My Own Wife”, at Jungle Theater.
For Josh and me, it was our second encounter with this one-actor play about an East German transvestite who survived both the Nazi and Communist regimes—but at a price: by serving as an informant for the Stasi, East Germany’s notorious secret police. Josh and I had attended a performance of “I Am My Own Wife” in February 2010 at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia.
The Signature Theatre production had not been good. The actor in the Arlington production had proven himself inadequate to the assignment; he was simply unable to carry the show (although we saw the same actor portray a more than creditable Frank in “Educating Rita” thirteen months later in Boston). In Arlington, the entire production had reeked of a small-college drama project.
The Jungle Theater production of “I Am My Own Wife” has received much acclaim, and has set the Twin Cities theater community abuzz (not always a good sign). Because word-of-mouth has been so positive, Josh and I decided to see the play again—and my brother decided he wanted to see the play, too.
Although the same actor and same director had been involved in an earlier Jungle Theater presentation of “I Am My Own Wife”, both have claimed in recent press interviews that the “new” Jungle Theater production is not a revival of that earlier production but a fresh examination of the same material.
Whether revival or new production, the current “I Am My Own Wife” at Jungle Theater is very fine, and vastly superior to the Signature Theatre production we attended twenty-one months ago. The actor onstage at Jungle Theater was seamless in moving from character to character (he is called upon to portray almost forty different characters). As a result, the pace of the show was much quicker at Jungle Theater than at Signature Theatre. The stage design, lighting design and sound design were much better in Minneapolis, too; all conspired to assist the single actor in portraying numerous roles and in holding the audience’s attention for two hours.
The same actor had portrayed Claudius in Jungle Theater’s recent production of “Hamlet”, which Josh and I had seen last month. An undistinguished if not unsatisfactory Claudius, the actor was a joy to watch in “I Am My Own Wife”.
Before the performance, we ate dinner at a nondescript Chinese restaurant. We ordered egg rolls and General Tso’s Chicken.
On Saturday, Joshua’s birthday, Josh and I stayed in, doing work around the house.
My grandmother has been fussing of late at the care facility, and my mother has been spending a good portion of recent days at her mother’s side. On Saturday, both my mother and my father spent most of the day with my grandmother at the care facility.
My older brother’s family stayed home Saturday, too, as did my middle brother. It was a day for everyone to stay home and catch up on household chores.
My parents came home from the care facility at 5:00 p.m.—and, as soon as I saw my mother’s face, I knew it was impossible to contemplate attending that evening’s performance of Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte” at University Opera Theatre, for which we had tickets.
“Let’s 86 the opera and go out to dinner” were my first words to my parents.
My father slowly shook his head and, after a pause, said, “I think your mother wants to stay in.”
So we stayed in Saturday night, and had a very quiet evening. I made a light supper of salmon-sour cream-onion omelets, and an hour after the omelets I made crepes, which we ate with strawberry jam.
Sunday had been set aside for birthday celebrations: Josh’s (who turned 28 on Saturday) and mine (I shall be 31 on Tuesday).
After Sunday service, everyone in the family went to Edina Grill to eat pumpkin pancakes with praline butter and whipped cream.
We spent the rest of the day at home.
Josh picked the menu for Sunday night’s birthday celebration. We had a garden salad, followed by baked steak, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli and corn. My mother made a white birthday cake with raspberry filling between layers, and we ate the cake with homemade ice cream.
In another three weeks, we have more birthday celebrations in store: the birthdays of my niece (who shall turn three) and my older brother (who shall turn 37).
Next weekend: Thanksgiving, with my parents’ 38th wedding anniversary two days later.
Celebrations are coming fast and furious.