Cathy Scarpelio Mitchell presents a series of vignettes from her past in Who is my authentic self? Can that change? at the Capital Fringe Festival. One problem she focuses on is her quest to achieve what she sees as a personal nirvana — marriage and children. She then discovers that even after achieving all she wanted, life still sucks sometimes.
Hers is a story that generations of Americans experienced while coming of age in the last century. Being a latchkey kid, experiencing family fights, divorce, moving cross country, feeling out of place, etc., was common for children of the 1960s and ’70s.
The problem for a viewer of Mitchell’s work is that seeing someone relive the trauma many of us experienced is not entertaining. One wonders why this is described on the Fringe website as a comedy.
Mitchell and technical director Gavin Carpenter use a screen at the back of the stage and period music to enhance the performance. The show opens with a chameleon on the screen. This sets the stage for much of Mitchell’s life.
When discussing latchkey kids, the screen displays a collection of television shows from Leave It to Beaver to The Brady Bunch. The problem for our generation is these sitcom reruns created an alternative reality for children like social media today. It clashed violently with the life we were living.
Hopefully, Mitchell, who wrote, produces, and performs the show, finds some solace in her journey through writing and on stage. Perhaps younger members of the audience can see the psychological baggage their parents and other family members carry from living a dream never realized.
Running Time: 50 minutes.
Playwright: Cathy Mitchell
Performer: Cathy Mitchell
Technical Director: Gavin Carpenter
Age appropriateness: Appropriate for adults only
The complete 2023 Capital Fringe Festival guidebook is online here.