I had the great challenging call of co-producing The Last Five Years in this pandemic. During the process of filming this musical, the cast and crew engaged ourselves in a game of sides. Are we Team Jamie? Or are we Team Cathy? And why? Let’s dig a bit deeper into their relationship.
She gives herself completely to Jamie in the relationship and is left “Still Hurting” (according to the title of the first song) after he cheats on various women and leaves her. It’s easy to sympathize with Cathy because she got burned! She got cheated on! Plus she is not as successful in her career, so we feel a certain pity for her.
Her insecurities as an actress affected her sense of self; eventually taking a toll on their relationship.
He tastes success quite early on in his career, soon after they began their relationship. He was smitten with Cathy and “all of the ten thousand women” that she was. However, when his writing career continues to bloom, his ego gets inflated. He starts being unsatisfied with their relationship which leads to infidelity with various women.
We can see that in both situations, the relationship deteriorated in accordance with their sense of self. Where Cathy feels smaller and smaller, Jamie feels bigger and bigger. Neither is healthy. Both contribute to the end of the relationship, and both feel they are in the right.
How often do we deal with this in our daily lives! Sometimes we are Cathy, feeling worthless and demanding our loved ones to continuously take care of us. Sometimes we are Jamie, feeling ourselves better than the people around us, thinking we don’t need them anymore.
I think if there is anything I learned from The Last 5 Years process, it is to reflect upon my own sense of self and the relationships I have with the closest ones around me. I am imperfect, and so are them. We are all just doing what we can. Perhaps the question here is, what will happen in the next five years? Will we have learned, will we evolve or change? Or will we be stuck in our same old mindsets and make the same mistakes even if our partner is someone different?