The Last Five Years

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Which person’s story do you sympathize with most? That’s the question Actors Theatre of Louisville is asking the audience of The Last Five Years.

Amber’s mother has season tickets for Actors, but she gave us these at the last minute since she had an early morning on Saturday.

It was unique experience for us as newlyweds. The musical was about a couple getting divorced and falling in love, in that order. Kind of. Cathy tells the story from the divorce backwards, and Jamie from the first date forwards.

I really enjoyed how it was put together, but I struggle with the question of sympathy. It beckons similar feelings to when I saw the film (500) Days of Summer, where hindsight provides a clarity to just how fragile relationships can be. The difference here is that while I ended (500) Days with a blissful understanding of how things came to pass and calm hope for the future, I leave The Last Five Years finding both characters so stubborn and their situation so futile that its difficult to connect with either of them.

I ended up voting for “Feel mostly for Cathy, but Jamie’s okay” which appears to be the most popular vote (but not by far.) The pain she felt is too much not to side with her. And Jamie had me leaning his way for about 5 minutes, but spoiled it. That’s men for you.

The performances were incredible, and I really enjoyed hearing a live pit orchestra. Been a while since I experienced that. This musical is flat-out singing your emotional guts for 90 minutes and these two performers did that wonderfully.

Amber and I had a great discussion about the show while driving home and that alone makes it an enjoyable evening.

But I have to end with: I love you, Ber. Just tell me if I ever act too much like Jamie. We’ll talk it out. I’ll try not to sing too loudly.

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