By: Eric Minion~Staff Writer~
This year seems to be one of the busiest seasons the Xavier Department of Music and Theatre has had. Director of Theatre, Stephen Skiles, has two plays and five musicals scheduled for the 2014-15 school year. To start off the year, the department is opening with “The Last Five Years,” a musical depicting the relationship of Cathy, a young actress, and Jamie, an aspiring novelist.
One of the most interesting aspects of the show is the unique perspective from which the story is told While Jamie tells his side of the story chronologically, Cathy tells her story in reverse. Upon witnessing this structure, the audience doesn’t get the full story of their relationship until the end of the show. Musical Director Scot Buzza attests to the musical difficulty of the show.
“First off, the fact that 95 percent of the show is sung by only two actors makes it a vocal marathon. Most leading roles call for an average of 10-15 minutes singing total, whereas each of the two actors in ‘The Last Five Years’ sings three times that much, 40 minutes or more… Oh, and they have to make it look easy, by the way.” Skiles talked about his experience in working with such a small cast.
“Over the past two years of the program, we’ve done some small plays and several musicals, but we haven’t done a musical with such a small cast. The show is comprised of two actors, so Maya and Griff carry the entire play.” The two actors, juniors Griff Bludworth and Maya Farhat, are not strangers to the stage. Bludworth and Farhat have starred in such Xavier productions as “Hairspray,” “The Crucible” and most recently, “Avenue Q.” As the only two actors in the show, the juniors have had their work cut out for them.
Buzza said that “there are no guarantees that the actors will, in fact, meet the enormous challenge of the show… the actor may create something really brilliant in one song, and then could just as easily end up making bloody road kill out of the next one.”
As a result, Skiles and Buzza have done everything they can to help Farhat and Bludworth, including giving them three months with the material and physical conditioning. Both actors attest to the beauty and emotion of the show.
“It is one of the most rewarding shows I have ever worked on,” Farhat said. “It’s a beautiful show and I swear, even if you don’t cry, you’ll get your money’s worth of feels,” Bludworth said.
“The Last Five Years” will have two showings, at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 5 and at 4:00 pm on Sept. 6. Because of the different, thrust staging, there is very limited seating. Tickets can be purchased either at the Gallagher Student Center Box Office or online at http://www.xavier.edu/theatre/.
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