The Last Five Years

QUEER CASTING EXPERIMENT:
SPECIAL FEATURES

This page offers additional information to enhance your experience with our digital re-imagining of TL5Y. Have fun!

Playlist

Prefer to engage exclusively aurally? Welcome to our SoundCloud playlist!

Chronology

The Last Five Years offers a complex chronological structure, with Cathy’s story beginning at the end of the relationship, Jamie beginning near the beginning, and the two narratives meeting briefly in the middle of the show. If you would like to experience the musical close to chronologically, here’s the way we understand the chronology of the show:

  1. Goodbye Until Tomorrow

  2. Shiksa Goddess

  3. I Can Do Better Than That

  4. Moving Too Fast

  5. The Schmuel Song

  6. Climbing Uphill (this song, we think, spans the time of “The Next Ten Minutes” and beyond)

  7. The Next Ten Minutes

  8. A Miracle Would Happen

  9. A Summer in Ohio

  10. A Part of That

  11. If I Didn’t Believe in You

  12. Nobody Needs to Know

  13. See I’m Smiling

  14. I Could Never Rescue You

  15. Still Hurting

Voicemails should be listened to with the song they are before in show order. In our production, Jamie and Cathy meet in October 2014, get married in June 2015, and begin divorce proceedings in late July or early August 2019.

Welcome to the Wedding: A Guided Imagination

I (Lusie here) have worked hard to make our reimagined reimagining a piece of art in its own right, but there was a moment in the stage version we were all very proud of (and are super sad not to have on film!). To that end, I want to invite you to listen to "The Next Ten Minutes," read the description of the staging, and take a moment to imagine with us what could have been!

It is, a projection informs us, June 26, 2015. There is a bench downstage suggesting a lake in a park. Two columns upstage mark a walking path.

  • :00 A group of friends (including Cathy and Jamie) enters clad in pride wear and carrying flags and signs. They have been at a rally in support of marriage equality, which was declared the law of the land roughly an hour before. The vibe is celebratory, giddy exhaustion.

  • :52 Jamie grabs Cathy's hand, pulling her into a kiss and preventing her from continuing with the group. Instead, they take a winding path through the park towards the water.

  • 1:09 Jamie invites Cathy to sit on the bench. She sits with her for a moment, paces, stands behind Cathy holding her. They look out at the water together.

  • 2:14 It's written all over Jamie's face: she's made a decision. It was not an easy one. She was not planning on making it.

  • 2:22 Jamie looks around and finds a flower on the ground. She picks it...

  • 2:25 ...and kneels, proposing. (Their friends notice in the background. A couple might even start filming.)

  • 2:42 Cathy stands without responding and walks away. Jamie slowly takes in the apparent rejection and rotates to face her girlfriend, adjusting so she is sitting on the ground in front of the bench.

  • 2:52 Cathy is still not making eye contact. Cathy and Jamie's friends are not concerned about this development - if anything, they seem even more excited. 

  • 3:22 Cathy turns to Jamie, pulling something from her pocket and holding it in her hand. Jamie, however, has since turned to look out at the water.

  • 3:48 Jamie turns to look at Cathy, standing slightly further from the water a few feet away.

  • 3:53 Cathy holds up the thing in her hand: a ring box...from where she'd planned on proposing to Jaime today.

  • 4:00 Cathy tried to get the box open. Jamie launches herself at Cathy, a nearly tackling hug.

  • 4:09 The women hold each other as their friends cheer.

  • 4:32 As Cathy and Jamie live in their moment, their friends transform the set - a huge sheer piece of rainbow fabric drapes over the two pillars upstage, one friend becomes an officiant at the front, and the flower Jamie gave Cathy becomes a boquet as the two walk to the altar together.

  • 5:00 The brides face each other in front of the officiant: these are their vows.

  • 5:40 The brides are frozen in the split second before their kiss.

  • 5:55 They kiss. The ceremony concludes.

  • 6:02 The ceremony gives way to a raucous dance party in slow motion. It is queer and giddy and joyful, one of life's few truly perfect moments. 

  • 6:30 Slowly, with reluctance, the revelers drift away...back in the direction from whence they came.

  • 6:38 The party enters again, beginning the scene anew.

  • 7:43 The song ends as Jamie pulls Cathy's hand, bringing her in for a kiss.

De-role Dance Party

The Last Five Years is an emotionally heavy show. We used verbal de-roleing (techniques that allow a performer to leave a character's emotional and physical reality behind and return to their own) processes throughout, but they weren't quite enough. So after some consultation with colleagues in the theatrical intimacy community and research on completing the stress cycle we instated the end of rehearsal de-role dance party: everyone contributed songs to a playlist, then we chose one or two to dance to at the end of rehearsal. It was a way of getting in our bodies, connecting as people (rather than characters and collaborators), and having fun! If you find yourself in need of a boost, check out our de-role dance playlist.