YES Theatre Kicks Off Seventh Season With The Last Five Years
YES Theatre launched its seventh season this December with The Last Five Years, a small and intimate production that took a welcome break from some of the larger shows YES is known for. Taking place over a short stretch from December 15th-20th at the Sudbury School of Dance, the show was a 2 handed production featuring Creative Director & Co-founder, Alessandro Costantini and Choreographer & Collaborator, Janie Pinard. The Sudbury School of Dance provided a sparse venue which allowed attention to focus on the vocal performances of Costantini and Pinard as well as the live accompaniment helmed by musical Director Michael Man.
The story of The Last Five Years follows the five-year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hiatt, a struggling actress. The show uses a form of storytelling in which Cathy’s story is told in reverse chronological order (beginning the show at the end of the marriage), and Jamie’s is told in chronological order (starting just after the couple have first met). The only time the characters share the same space and time and interact with each other directly is when their stories overlap in the middle of the production and they are married. It is an intimate look into the all the joys and sorrow’s associated with loving someone.
Having already been a big fan of this production coming in I was slightly biased; however having never seen a staged production of this show before there was a lot added to the story by seeing the performance. One thing I found particularly interesting was that neither actors left the stage through the entire performance, creating some great contrast on stage as the story bounced back and forth between timelines. This can be seen from the beginning as the first number has Cathy singing “I’m Still Hurting” after finding that Jamie has left. She mourns the demise of their relationship while in the next number he sings “Shicksa Goddess” in which he swoons over the new girl he’s just started seeing. In a particularly poignant number “If I Didn’t Believe in You” ,we see Cathy at the beginning of the relationship feeling defeated as she rehearses for an audition, all the while Jamie at the end of the relationship is frustrating and disappointed that Cathy doubts her talents and his faith in her.
I cannot say enough good things about Pinard’s performance as Cathy Hiatt! I’ve been a fan of the musical for months but had always found the character of Cathy slightly sentimental and passive, but Pinard managed to bring out a smarmy and direct side to the role. A Cathy I can really get behind! Costantini as Jamie Wellerstein added a sense of sincerity that added greatly to the performance.
YES Theatre’s next production will be Hairspray at the Sudbury Theatre Centre, August 11-27th, 2016. Ticket info to come in the following months. For more information on YES Theatre visit them on Facebook or their website at www.yestheatre.com.
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