The Last Five Years: The Culmination of My Last Four Years
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The Last Five Years, a musical by Jason Robert Brown and my Senior Individualized Project (SIP) , started with one central idea- I wanted to do a project that was the culmination of my entire college experience. My SIP became this for me. In many ways, it was the most personal piece of theatre in which I have taken part. I felt it was almost my baby, in that I was protective of it, frustrated by it, and intertwined with it. Doing my SIP with fellow senior Theatre Arts major Dwight Trice also provided me with a supportive relationship through which the project and I could grow. I took on many roles in this production. I was a director, an actor, a producer, a singer, a coach, an organizer, and a collaborator all at the same time. Trice and I decided to tackle this two-person musical in the spring of my junior year, when my SIP seemed so far away that it seemed it would probably never happen. Never before had I been in charge (at least, half in charge) of such a big production. This show was particularly intriguing to Trice and I because it allowed us to both perform and direct. We agreed that he was my director and I was his and all decisions were reached together. I cannot imagine another person with whom I would so eagerly attempt such a project. The following is my research of The Last Five Years and my experience through the rehearsal and performance process. I particularly want to highlight the reality of what happened verses my expectations. I will begin by detailing my decision process in choosing this SIP and the goals I had. I will then share my research of Jason Robert Brown, the composer, and how his career and personal life shaped The Last Five Years, followed by the production's history as well as the kind of reception it has. I then will detail my experience in putting on this production and examine the themes that emerged.