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Pushing the boundaries of art, expressing stories
Matthew Antoci is star of one-man play
Antoci helps tell a story of survival in Nazi Germany through unthinkable odds. - photo by Amy McDonald

Flowery Branch senior Matthew Antoci is passionate about using art of theater to reflect the progression of society.

So when he began choosing a show to do for his Honors Mentorship project in the drama department, he knew what direction he wanted to go.

The Tony Award-winning show is the reason he is planning on going into theater as a career, and he feels it would be a symbolic “coming full circle” moment in his senior year.

“I Am My Own Wife” is a play by Doug Wright that made a profound impact on Antoci when he first encountered it his freshman year of high school.

The performance will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at Flowery Branch High School theater and again at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $5, and the proceeds, by choice of Antoci, will all go to Acts of Greatness, an organization that helps LGBT youth.

The performance is a documentary-style play that takes place over several years set in Germany, about the life of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf,“a transvestite … a man biologically who discovered halfway through her childhood that she was more comfortable wearing women’s clothes, and she survives the Nazis, and then she also survives the communists in a dress and high heels, then it turns out she was a spy,” Antoci explained.

That is what drew the playwright to this story, because he saw an interesting contention between the facets of surviving through Nazi Germany, and the betrayal of being a spy, as well as the lost history that is captured in the museum she kept throughout her life.

“If their legacies (were) in direct harm to others … how do guilty people affect their own history, and how that story is told of their life? So it's about her and the museum she kept, and how those kind of answers are brought to life in the modern sense, in the creative world,” Antoci said.

The performance has only one actor Antoci. But he does not want people to see it as a glorification of himself, “but more about ‘look at these people.’”

Seeing a play with only one actor is almost like seeing a show through a different medium, such as a movie with subtitles or a show with puppets. It’s something different than normal, and a way for the audience to separate the means of conveying a message from the story itself.

“It (the performance) is risky, and we should support high schoolers taking artistic risks,” Antoci said, encouraging people to come and see the show. “The whole point of art is to progress with society.”

Mallory Nonnemaker, the director of the performance, said, “If any other 17-year-old boy asked me to direct them in a one man show, I would say no. (But Matthew) is the only student that would put in the work it takes.”

He is not afraid to “go there” and fail, and make changes to be better next time, attributes Nonnemaker greatly appreciates.

“I would be doing this if zero people came. It's about just working, and it’s about the process.” Antoci said.

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