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A CurtainUp Connecticut Review
Have You Seen Us?
A CurtainUp C
The two trade barbs with Henry keeping score in what to him becomes a genuine contest of verbal wit, but which seems nothing more than a daily annoyance to Adela. For some reason the two suddenly start sharing on a more personal level (this is one of the play's flaws — there really isn't a reason they would open up except the need to drive the play forward)
Henry shares how he intentionally seems to fall off the wagon every time his sobriety offers him the opportunity to see his estranged daughter. He has an odd collection of flyers with photos of missing people asking the question "Have You Seen Us?" Adele knows the story of one missing mother and daughter featured on them and further shares that her grandmother was a soldier in the Mexican revolution. The only other customers in the shop are an elderly Jewish couple, Sol and Elaine (Sol Frieder and Elaine Kussack) searching in vain for some Kosher food.
Henry absent-mindedly wishes the couple a merry Christmas and Sol's reply touches off a mental fire storm for Henry who faces some unpleasant truths about himself and the prejudices he has held inside all his life. "The journey from hate to love is the shortest my heart has ever made” " he tells us.
The message is terrific — has Henry ever really seen anyone? The story lacks a cohesiveness to move it forward naturally, however. The slow pace is frustrating, especially after a pre-action monologue in which Henry alludes to a life-changing event. We're constantly waiting for it and when it finally comes, we're glad, but it's more of a dénouement than the shocking climax we are expecting.
Waterston gives a thorough portrait of the broken man, right down to hands that shake from too much alcohol and the South African accent (although it sounds British and is muddled at times). Colon-Zayas plays a feisty and natural counter for the acerbic Henry and soothes him with her lovely singing voice.
Henry makes us examine our own hearts and the thought that love and forgiveness can conquer hate is a welcome one, if you're willing to wait for it.