‘Wife: An Unauthorized Mitski Musical’ asks, “What am I?”

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Gia Sparacino, Features Editor

Who is a wife? She is equally soft as she is strong. She is cared for but provides. She is just as much a mother as she is a lover. Her days are filled with nurturing a husband, raising a child, and turning a house into a home. But what happens when a role engulfs you rather than just existing as a part of you? When your identity is only made up of the people you serve? When who you are gets buried under who you need to be for others on the surface? What happens when you finally start to dig but find nothing? And you dig and dig and dig until you’re nearly six feet under?

“Wife: An Unauthorized Mitski Musical” is a student-run production being performed here at the University that explores topics such as these. During a sit down with Katie Brown, a sophomore Directing Major, and director of “Wife,” she explained what the show is all about.

“Wife: An Unauthorized Mitski Musical” follows the main character, Wife, as she goes through a mental health journey after discovering that she is unsure of who she is outside of her marriage. Wife chooses to follow the path of a traditional marriage structure, fulfilling the expectations of both society and her mother, who pushed these ideals on her throughout her upbringing. She soon realizes that she struggles to understand who she is outside of this structure. We follow Wife as she toys with her self-identity, navigates her relationship with her husband, and deals with many of the mental health struggles that come with the journey towards self-discovery.

Inspired by Mitski’s description of her own struggles with mental health and anxiety through her lyrics, Sommer Campbell, a Junior B.A. Acting major at the University, members of Stand Up Productions, a Student Club at the University, put the script together and originally performed it remotely over the summer. 

When asked about her own personal connection to Mitski, Brown expressed that her love for Mitski “…has a lot to do with being Asian-American identifying. A lot of her songs are about her identity and how she navigates her way in the world being Asian-American and I feel especially in this genre of alternative music we don’t have a lot of artists who are women of color. Her music is so universal that I feel like anyone can relate to it but at the same time it’s also so personal and unique to her.”

“Wife” will be performed on May 6-8 at The Tank, a nonprofit theater on 36th Street with free admission. Because Stand Up Productions is not profiting from the performance, this allowed them to put on the show despite having no legal rights for the music.

The performance will have a relatively bare set with an intimate cast of seven but will be livened with the addition of projected film, various lighting techniques, bright colors, wacky characters, and dark imagery. The movement and dance style, as well as the theatrical plot form, heavily mirrors Mitski’s unique stage presence. If you’re interested Brown has a Pinterest board for the type of artistic style she is aiming for in “Wife.”

That being said: Mitski fans, clear your calendars, grab your Lexapro and get some popcorn going as you prepare to take on “Wife: An Unauthorized Mitski Musical” this May.