Alan Jordan, the journey to I Am My Own Wife
By Warren JacobsTheater I Am My Own Wife With Alan Jordan Thu, Feb 13–Sat, Feb 15, 7pm Mon, Feb 17–Sat, Feb 22, 7pm Sun, Feb 16 and 23, 3pm 175 pesos Matinees 150 pesos La Buhardilla Fábrica La Aurora Tickets at Solutions (Mesones 57)
Warren Jacobs: Why did you choose to work on and present I Am My Own Wife?
Alan Jordan: It has taken me four years to decide to actually do this play. A former resident of San Miguel suggested it to me after she saw a production of the play in the States. I read it and also read the autobiography of Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf to help me make up my mind. It was a daunting challenge that I couldn’t resist—a man in a dress playing 35 different characters.
WJ: Why are you not presenting this play in a theater?
AJ: Environmental Theater gives the audience a very different feeling than being in a conventional theater setting. It seems to replace the formality of a theater and opens up new possibilities since the audience is in the location, not just watching it.
The play takes place in a European museum. La Buhardilla, an elegant antique gallery, is a perfect venue. The audience is seated on beautiful antique chairs and surrounded by antiques and collectibles. Thus the audience becomes part of the environment of the play.
WJ: Have you ever played a role of a cross dresser?
AJ: No. I did perform naked in the ‘70s…does that count?
I was very up tight about shopping for the black dress that the main character wears in the show. When I was home in Toronto, I went to vintage shops asking for black dresses in my size and always prefacing the request with… “This is for a play.” Finally at Value Village I hit pay dirt. I found a skirt, a top and a string of pearls.
I took an old friend with me for support. At the cashier, I again announced that it was for a play. I finally realized that nobody cares anymore who is buying a skirt or a blouse or whatever. It just doesn’t matter. The cashier, in fact, insisted on telling me that I could wear the pearls as a single strand or double them up. Next time I need a frock I’ll be more relaxed.
WJ: What do you feel prepared you to tackle this seldom-performed play?
AJ: Forty years of acting in professional theater and in film have prepared me for this venture. The diversity of my career has also helped. I studied with the renowned acting teacher Sanford Meisner. I was also fortunate enough to work with the legendary acting teacher and brilliant actress Uta Hagen.
I’ve been very lucky to play a variety of roles. My career has taken me from Shakespeare roles in New York and Canada to musical comedy productions, totally improvisational theater. I guest-starred in many television episodics and movies such as Hill Street Blues, Dallas, Sorry Wrong Number, Woman on the Run and The Young and The Restless, etc.
Now I’d like to only play parts that challenge me, parts that I would never have attempted in the early years.
WJ: How did you prepare for this bear of a play?
AJ: Preparation is ongoing. It never ends. Preparation doesn’t stop just because the play opens. The rehearsal process, for me, is a process of discovery of what the playwright intended and a discovery of the life of the character.
The character in any play only has one or two hours of sporadic dialogue. The actor’s job is to try and complete the life of that character leading up to the point in which he
or she utters these few lines of dialogue. That is where technique kicks in, which is much easier said than done.Technique, for me, is ever evolving.
WJ: Do you have plans to take this play on the road as you did with your production of House last year?
AJ: First things first. I hope the San Miguel audience will embrace this production as they did my production of House last year. I am returning to Mexico City March 5 to do a performance of House for UNAM.