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‘The Last Five Years’ Means Learning to Say ‘I’m Sorry’
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Chris Carwithen and Tess Makena star in “The Last Five Years,” which begins Thursday.
   
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Simply put, “The Last Five Years” is about a couple reviewing their relationship—the first glance, the falling in love, the wedding and the divorce.

But Jason Robert Brown’s two-person musical is unique in that Cathy, a struggling actress, tells the story from the end of their marriage, moving back in time to the beginning of the relationship, while Jamie, a budding novelist on the brink of success, moves forward from their first date to their last goodbye.

They meet once—in the middle at their wedding.

The Liberty Theatre Company will present this interesting take on love Thursday, Sept. 22, through Oct. 8 in the round at the Bailey Studio at The Argyros in Ketchum.

Tess Makena will play Cathy and Chris Carwithen, Jamie. R.L. Rowsey will serve as music director and accompanist, while Boisean Tracy Sunderland will direct the musical.

Rowsey called the musical “a spectacular musical look at the gift and challenges of love and those of us who are brave enough to give it a try.”

He added that he loves the opportunity to see the relationship from different viewpoints: “The chance to look at something, think you know everything about the situation, and then learn more and maybe be willing to change your opinion or let go of opinions all together and just be.”

Tess Makena said she has been a fan of the musical since she was a teen.

“The honest and devastating humanity of the lyrics and these two characters is relatable to everyone in some way or another,” she said. “In the span of 90 minutes, we get to perform sky-high elation and crushing loss in two opposing timelines. In one breath Jamie beams from the excitement of their first date while Cathy mourns the loss of him. It’s powerful, beautiful and an important musical work, which is why I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to tell this story nearly two decades after originally hearing it.”

Makena said she hopes audiences learn the importance of listening to one another through the play.

“Cathy isn’t a hero, Jamie isn’t a villain, as much as Jamie isn’t a hero and Cathy isn’t a villain. They’re human, they’re us, we’re them. So, we listen to their story, we hear their joy and pain, and we learn how to empathize with each other by listening.”

While both characters are hurt at their end of their relationship, there is much joy and many wonderful moments in between, noted Chris Carwithen.

“Humans make mistake. Both of these characters certainly do. BIG ones. And I love them both for that,” he said. “Because underneath everything they do, if you simply have the patience and the care to peel away a layer or two, they are simply loving and they are hurting.”

Pay close attention, he added, and you’ll find that neither character uses the most powerful tool available to them—that of saying, “I’m sorry.”

“None of us are so important that we should be above being sorry,” he said. “I hope this story can be a reminder of that to others, too.”

 

IF YOU GO….

“The Last Five Years will be presented in-the-round at The Bailey Studio at The Argyros with a limited seating of 35 audience members a night.

The 90-minute show starts at 8 p.m. Sept. 22-24, 28-29 and October 2, 5-6 and 8. A 2 p.m. matinee will be held Sunday, Sept. 25 (with a talkback following the show), as well as Sunday, Oct. 2, and Saturday, Oct. 8.

The Sept. 29 show will feature a Post Show Reception with drinks and appetizers.

Tickets are $35 for general admission and $15 for student tickets, available at https://ci.ovationtix.com/35937/production/1138114.

RELIGHT THE LIBERTY THEATRE

The Liberty Theatre Company is trying to raise $1.7 million by Dec. 31 to refurbish the 84-year-old Liberty Theatre in downtown Hailey. The theater is in need of structural renovation and a new HVAC system before thespians can resume producing plays and musical shows there.

To learn more, visit https://www.libertytheatrecompany.org. Or, call 208-582-8388.

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