Despite the lack of frills, with the right people involved, one-man shows can offer some of the most exciting theater around. Actor's Express matches intriguing artists to acclaimed material with its current repertory of two monologue plays. Beginning Thurs., JAN. 25, Freddie Ashley directs Doug Wright's Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play I AM MY OWN WIFE, with Doyle Reynolds as 36 characters in a tale about Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a transvestite who survived everything from Hitler's Gestapo to the East German secret police. Then, opening Thurs., FEB. 1, Alliance Theatre artistic director Susan V. Booth directs Chris Kayser in the lecture/confessional THOM PAIN (BASED ON NOTHING) (pictured) by Will Eno. Through March 3. $21.50-$27. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. 887 W. Marietta St. 404-607-7469. www.actors-express.com.