What's it about?
Miss You Like Hell is about a strained mother /daughter relationship that is put to the test during a cross country road trip and brings to light the effects of illegal immigration in the United States.
I will not cry. I will not cry. Dammit, I'm crying!!! NO ONE LOOK AT ME.
Our Earth was so beautifully designed for all of us to dwell on freely. Man got their hands on it and created countries, cities, states, boroughs and borders to create order but also exclusivity. 'You don't belong here' is what we say to those who don't have identification that matches ours and despite America being the 'Land of the Free', it looks and feels more like a prison. 'Come one, come all' - we say EXCEPT for 'you'. Families continue to be ripped apart due to our inability to empathize and see the damage we cause when we decide that our rules and regulations matter more than people - all people not just those we consider OUR people.
When first presented with the opportunity to see this show, I immediately threw my hand up because of the title alone. I didn't know anything about the plot, cast or the production but it sounded romantic and I'm always on board for that. Once the play started and I realized it was about a mother/daughter relationship, I knew it was only a matter of time before I started crying. After seeing Waitress last year, I now know that my heart has a soft spot for that kind of content. The first thing I noticed about the show was that it reminded me of Fun Home and Rent. It had a very similar feeling to both of those shows - in the way the stage moved, was configured and the way the songs sounded. I found out afterwards via my Playbill that the person who choreographed Fun Home also choreographed this production and that Daphne Rubin-Vega was in the original cast of Rent on Broadway. My instincts and ears were right!
When Beatriz started the musical praying to her ancestors for courage - the lioness courage that lives within her - I knew I was going to be hooked and there was no way I was getting even a little bit distracted (no matter how badly I had to pee during a show with no intermission)
Nothing makes me happier than seeing diversity on stage. As a woman of color, I want nothing more than to see people who look like me and those around me in theatre and have that become normal. I also never noticed before how little the Latinx community is seen as leading characters, especially on Broadway. I loved that the two main characters represented in Miss You were both Hispanic actresses playing Hispanic characters.
This show didn't just bring to light the effects of a strained mother/daughter relationship. But it also tackled political issues that continues to break apart families today. Sixteen-year old Olivia is a hurting girl hiding behind a broken, blogger facade. She hides behind her love for literature and blames her mother for her suicide attempt. Her mother, Beatriz, despite the undeniable love for her daughter, moved from Philadelphia to California due to fear of immigration and the possibility of deportation over a minor marijuana case from the 80's - leaving Olivia with her father.
Over the course of their time together on the road, we start to see their walls break down as honesty is shared between them. Little bits of Spanish is intertwined throughout the dialogue offering us a glimpse into Mexican culture. We see Beatriz, and later Olivia, call on their ancestors to look over them in times of trouble - something I have seen in my own culture as well.
Anytime I watch or read anything fiction, I want desperately for there to be a happy ending. Maybe that has to do with my childhood - all of the fairytales we become obsessed with that end all of life's twists and turns with a perfectly perfect conclusion or maybe it has to do with how sad real life is and how much we what to escape it. Either way, I wanted this show to end with Beatriz and Olivia working on their relationship and living together in total freedom but sadly, that's not what happened. Sadly, that's not our reality. Families are broken apart every single day due to our broken regulations on immigration. I've experienced this myself first hand with various members of my own family. I couldn't help but feel tremendous gratitude that my mother is legal here and that I will never have to experience being separated from her or having her sent back to her place of birth. I couldn't imagine living with that fear every single time she left our home at the beginning of every day, fearing that she may not return. I couldn't imagine the anxiety she would face having to look over her shoulder and carefully monitor her every move.
I looked around that theatre that night at a bunch of people who I don't think will ever understand what it feels like to be forced out of a country you've built a life on and raised children in. When you're children are free to live and you're not. I looked around thinking, 'I can only imagine the secret thoughts you must have on the subject' and 'this is not just a piece of theatre that you can just applaud for its beautiful delivery. This is reality for millions of undocumented people in this country'.
I cried for this broken family that I see a glimpse of every day. I cried for our broken country, ruled by people who will NEVER understand the weight of their policies. I cried because art is not always 'sit back and watch fiction for a few hours, go home and forget about it'. This show, despite the bits of humor, subplots, songs and choreography - offered us all an inside scoop on just a glimpse of what happens to people when we decide that our rules are more important than people.
Bonus points for the fact that Beatriz and Olivia had some really amazing, raw and hilarious conversations about sex, virginity and suicide. YES PLAYWRIGHT! Let's keep the stage honest!
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