My mother recently saw Miss You Like Hell, which had its closing performance this past Sunday, and she said that she came out of the theatre with tears in her eyes. She expressed to me that the thought of someone separating her from her daughter would break her. My mother saw the last scene in the show where Beatriz and Olivia were standing on opposite sides of the wall, and she put herself in their shoes. Unfortunately, this is a devastating reality for many individuals. For lots of us, family means home. Home is where you feel accepted, loved, and valued. In Miss You Like Hell, home becomes a major theme. Therefore, Olney Theatre Center devised community engagement events that focused on what home means to members of our community. Our Community Engagement and Touring Coordinator, Rebecca Dzida, and Education Administration Apprentice, Hannah Ensign, worked together to devise an all day, open house called “Miss You Like Home” that showcased a wonderful array of local artists and community members whose everyday work reflects the themes of the show. Along with this event, we placed cards in our lobby that asked people to write down what home means to them. These cards stayed in the lobby throughout the entire run of Miss You Like Hell. Audience members of all ages filled them out, and we found that home means many different things depending on the person. For one person, home meant hot cocoa and movies. For another, home included Olney Theatre Center. When I asked Hannah what inspired this idea of the lobby cards, she responded: “We wanted to incorporate a physical representation of what home means to people. Also, the cards are a way for our patrons to connect with the themes of the show on a deeper level. I think asking people to think about what home means to them was another way to think about what the characters in the show were going through, and that, while not everyone experiences what Beatriz and Olivia did, many of the themes are universal.” Along with this, Rebecca mentioned that the cards allowed the community to take ownership of the space and create an art project together. Even though the cards are no longer in the lobby and Miss You Like Hell has closed, Olney Theatre Center is very much home to many of our audience members, staff, and artists.
Below are some examples of the lobby cards: