The Last 5 Years: Philippine Production

The Last 5 Years

The Last 5 Years is a fusion and play of emotions where it is artistically and distinctly portrayed in different highs and lows of a romance gone wrong and a flashback to a promising forever of a first date.

Nikki Gil is Cathy Hyatt, a struggling actor in New York and Joaquin Valdes is Jamie Wellerstein, an equally struggling writer. They meet, fall in love and call it quits.

While it is typical, like in any love story to meet, kiss and leave (though we usually hope not to reach this point), The Last 5 Years creatively tells the story in two perspectives. The musical starts with a [still] hurting Cathy and reminisces back to an ecstatic goodbye in anticipation of a next meeting with Jamie. On the other hand, Jamie’s viewpoint begins with a character that is smitten with a beauty compared to a Shiksa goddess in Cathy. The musical ends with two goodbyes. Cathy tenders a euphoric goodbye while Jamie endows a crestfallen goodbye.

As originally conceptualized and written by Jason Robert Brown, the two characters rarely interact with each other except when they got engaged and married. Valdes reveals in one of the interviews that the only meeting as Brown puts it, between Jamie and Cathy within the musical was the only time when their love worked. Hence, in the last 5 years, the love was only right at that time.

The musical’s repertoire is excellently authored that the reverse and chronological progression of differing realities brings the audience to a journey of shifting but seamless display of emotions. The lyrics are our everyday truths that consciously and/or sub-consciously reflect the life we have lived, live and will live.

Gil’s vocal finesse, the theatrical charm of Valdes and the overall technical ensemble of 9 Works Theatrical through the direction of Robbie Guevara takes the audience to a pleasantly heartbreaking hour and 30 minutes [and beyond depending on the musical’s impact to your emotions or hangover].

In hindsight, the ingenious structure and unfolding of the musical is an allegory to the psyche of women who often tend to muse more over lost love [or anything] as through the lyrics of Still Hurting.

Jamie is over and Jamie is gone
Jamie’s decided it’s time to move on
Jamie has new dreams he’s building upon
And I’m still hurting

Jamie arrived at the end of the line
Jamie’s convinced that the problems are mine
Jamie is probably feeling just fine
And I’m still hurting

What about lies, Jamie?
What about things
That you swore to be true
What about you, Jamie
What about you

Jamie is sure something wonderful died
Jamie decides it’s his right to decide
Jamie’s got secrets he doesn’t confide
And I’m still hurting

Go and hide and run away
Run away, run and find something better
Go and ride the sun away
Run away like it’s simple
Like it’s right…

Give me a day, Jamie
Bring back the lies
Hang them back on the wall
Maybe I’d see
How you could be
So certain that we
Had no chance at all

Jamie is over and where can I turn?
Covered with scars I did nothing to earn
Maybe there’s somewhere a lesson to learn
But that wouldn’t change the fact
That wouldn’t speed the time
Once the foundation’s cracked
And I’m
Still Hurting

On the other hand, the psyche of men is usually emotionally subdued by just moving forward with less drama. The lyrics of I Could Never Rescue You is a glimpse of it.

I called Elise to help me pack my bags
I went downtown and closed the bank account
It’s not about another shrink
It’s not about another compromise
I’m not the only one who’s hurting here
I don’t know what the hell is left to do
You never saw how far the crack had opened
You never knew I had run out of rope and

I could never rescue you
All you ever wanted
But I could never rescue you
No matter how I tried
All I could do was love you hard
And let you go

No matter how I tried
All I could do was love you
God, I loved you so
So we could fight
Or we could wait
Or I could go…

You never noticed how the wind had changed
I didn’t see a way we both could win

Goodbye, Cathy

If only the frenzy of love in those 10 minutes where it actually worked can be sustained for a lifetime even in the midst of mutual antipathy, then maybe, it would not last for just 5 years. Maybe…



© rooks 2014

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