By Bill Hirschman, FloridaTheaterOnStage.com, for SouthFloridaReporter.com, jULY 21, 2015 – One of the joys of Facebook is that you can see at any moment, almost God-like, the entire sweep and variety of human experiences occurring at precisely the same time: births and deaths, weddings and divorces, the swirling yin and yang of existence.
Evening Star Production’s fervent mounting of Jason Robert Brown’s cult musical The Last Five Years does the same thing with infinite compassion for the eddying gain and loss in one of the most intriguing constructs in musical theater.
Brown documents the same five-year relationship from the man’s point of view moving forward in time from its origin, and simultaneously in alternating scenes from the woman’s point of view going backward in time from the end of the relationship. We know from the opening that this relationship is doomed yet will be marked with unbridled joy; Brown charts the relationship as it grows and frays in juxtaposition to each other.
To spell it out, in the first scene, the woman receives a breakup letter and is devastated – because it’s the end of the relationship. In the second scene, the man is exultant over his new girlfriend – because this is the beginning of the very same relationship five years earlier.