And so it goes. 

And so it goes. 

Words about stuff about words. 

The Last Five Years

Sometimes it feels as if life is running backwards. There are days when I feel like I'm old, at the end of my life, but then the next day, I feel young and full of energy. I know these perceptions aren't reality, but they certainly do feel true at the time. It's rare to find a piece of theater that can replicate that feeling, but there is one. It's called THE LAST FIVE YEARS at PowPAC(North County San Diego), and you should go see it because it's fantastic. 

 

Why is it fantastic? Many reasons. As I mentioned, it manages time as a fluid commodity, not as a linear arrow from here to there. And it's a musical, so that's even more impressive! But mostly, you have to see it because of the people who are in it. There are only two— the incomparable Sarah LeClaire, and the talented Cory Hibbs. They sing, they play piano, they glug fake wine out of bottles, and live out a trunk...and they tell the story of two characters' lives in two different directions, something that I wouldn't have believed unless I'd seen it. 

 

THE LAST FIVE YEARS, written by Jason Robert Brown (contemporary musical theater superstar) presents the story of a couple of artists: Jamie and Cathy. Jamie writes, Cathy sings. They have ambitions. They meet, fall in love, and things go as they go. But in this show, Jamie tells the story in one direction-—from their first meeting to their breakup—while Cathy tells it in the opposite direction, from breakup to love at first sight. It doesn't sound like it would work but it does. LeClaire and Hibbs, the only cast in this 90-minute show with no intermission— do yeomens' work, playing their own piano accompaniment and singing in turns as they tell the story. LeClaire's voice is like a sharp-edged diamond, bright and dazzling. Hibbs brings warmth and charm to the story of the not-as likeable (in my opinion) Jamie, a man who wants it all. It's a night of theater that you would be privileged to witness. 

 

It made me think a lot about my own life, actually. I am a writer, like Jamie, and my husband is a musician, like Cathy. We've had our own non-linear journey in life, struggling to be creative people while still making enough to live in California, raise two kids, and a pet or two. There is never enough time, and whatever time one takes, the other has to give. Resentments can build up; in the case of Jamie and Cathy, the resentments were ultimately their undoing. THE LAST FIVE YEARS is a great cautionary tale in some ways about living la vie boheme. If you want to be an artist, it will likely cost you, and you have to bring your best to your own life as well as your art if you want relationships to work as well as careers. 

 

This show is only on for another week or so, so you absolutely must go see it if you are in the San Diego area. The show runs through February 21 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Last chance. Go see it and be amazed. www.powpac.org

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