The Muhlenberg theatre and dance department is home to various mainstage productions throughout the year, with three productions last semester: “En el Tiempo de las Mariposas,” “Call Me By Any Other Name” and “The Saint Plays.” This semester plans to have a wide variety of productions and the first mainstage piece to premiere this semester is “Miss You Like Hell,” a musical about the story of a mother and daughter and their complicated relationship. The musical highlights the immigration struggles for parents and families in America as well as other marginalized groups, such as the couple of Mo and Higgins and the character Pearl. The heart of the story, however, is the dynamic between the mother and daughter duo, Beatriz and Olivia.
Beatriz is brought to life by Bridget Wiggan ‘23 under the direction of Jamie McKittrick, visiting assistant professor of theatre. Wiggan describes her experience with McKittrick’s direction saying, “Jamie has been focused on fostering collaboration, but even more so than that, she has focused on creating a safe space where, even though there’s an inherent hierarchy, our needs/concerns are still given space to be addressed.” Wiggan continues, describing the challenges brought along with the role of Beatriz. The role represents a story and experience she doesn’t know herself, she is able to find pieces of herself within the character.
“She’s phenomenal. Bridget’s performance as Beatriz is not only breathtaking but is awe-inspiring to watch.”-Zaire Carter ’22
“There are parts of Beatriz’s experience that I will never truly understand– I’m not a Mexican immigrant and I don’t know what it’s like to have to fight to justify my existence in America. But the feeling that the justice system is constantly working against you, even when you’re following all the ‘rules’ is a notion that I grapple with often, so the frustration and anger she feels throughout the show because of that is reflective of my own; in those moments, bits of myself bleed through.”
Wiggan’s past works include the “La Maestra” studio production in her freshman year, the show “MAGIC” her sophomore year and most recently “Call Me By Any Other Name… Just as Sweet” last semester. She reflects on her past experiences, “I’ve gotten to work with a lot of directors at the College in different capacities, which has allowed me to learn different directorial styles. Each interaction … has helped me to learn what kind of actor I am and what kind of actor I want to be.”
As omicron rapidly shifts the playing field campus-wide, “Miss You,” along with other Muhlenberg theatre and dance productions, are no exceptions. Wiggan describes the process with “Miss You” as faster than normal shows saying that “Jamie has been very focused on front-loading the process– getting the show up on its feet as soon as possible and then going back to flesh it out further, which is a very smart approach considering … cast members or the production team could contract COVID at any time.”
Olivia is Beatriz’s daughter in the piece and Marina Rinkunas ‘25 captures the spirit of the reluctant yet hopeful character. Rinkunas stated, “Working with [Wiggan] is effortless, I feel like we connect so well. It’s very useful in our scenes as Olivia and Beatriz, since they go through this beautiful journey of family love, as well as self-love. It is very important to me to have a partner whom I can trust.”
Wiggan also speaks fondly of the bond she has formed with Rinkunas, commenting on it as one of her favorite parts of the show so far, not only with her co-star but the cast as a whole; “A lot of the process has been dedicated to building our relationship, as it’s integral to the show, so we’ve spent a lot of time together, and this gave me an opportunity to get to work with a person who I, otherwise, might not have gotten the chance to know. ”
Zaire Carter ‘22, another cast member of “Miss You Like Hell” said, “She’s phenomenal. Bridget’s performance as Beatriz is not only breathtaking but is awe-inspiring to watch. I am honored to be a cast member and to be able to work with her. Her work ethic and her ability to make the story come to life is a unique quality that she possesses and a true and rare gift. It has been an honor to work with her in ‘Miss You Like Hell.’”
“…the frustration and anger she feels throughout the show because of that is reflective of my own; in those moments, bits of myself bleed through.”-Bridget Wiggan ’23
See Wiggan, Rinkunas and the incredibly talented Muhlenberg ensemble of students in “Miss You Like Hell” Feb. 24 through Feb. 27 at the Baker Theatre in the Center for the Arts. You can buy tickets now on the Muhlenberg theatre and dance webpage or at the box office in the Trexler Pavilion. The piece is for the Muhlenberg community to enjoy and also reflect on the power of family love and the struggles and pain caused by the immigration policies in America.