Les Misérables

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Photo Credit: Springfield News Leader

Photo Credit: Springfield News Leader

Photo Credit: Springfield News Leader

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     Ahhhh, Les Misérables. Some of you may have read the book, seen the movie, or in my opinion, something better than both of those, the musical. Some of you may be thinking, what in the world is a Les Misérables? Well, keep reading to find out. In November, Kickapoo Theatre put on the musical Les Misérables. I watched this play. Twice. If you would have been there you would have understood my breathless delight. I could see it again, every day of my life, without it getting boring. The actors’ singing and dancing did so well, it seemed as though they were straight out of Broadway. Les Misérables is starring Carter Rowe as Jean Valjean, Jarrett Payne as Javert, Eva Trent acting as Fantine, Sarah Froncek was Cosette, Maddy Benson as Eponine, and Wesley Bryan starring as Marius. Along with Sebastian Blanton and Zoe Baldwin acting as Thenardier and Madame Thenardier. These people along with all of the other actors and singers performed Les Misérable beautifully.

    If I told you all the details of this production, I would kill a lot of cyber trees, because it would take so long, so I’ll give you the basics. So you begin in a prison camp in France. Men are working like slaves, being punished for crimes. There is one man, who does not necessarily need to be in this wretched place. He only stole a little bread to save his sister’s dying son. His name is Jean Valjean, though here he is only referred to as 24601, as every man is given a number. Then, after 19 years, he is freed. Javert, who has been ordering him around for the past years, tells Jean to never forget his face and is given a paper that tells anyone he works for a sign to not pay him as much. He then decides to start over with his life. He becomes mayor of a little town in France and helps people all he can. One woman, in particular, is poor, because her husband abandoned her and left her with a little girl named Cosette, and because of that, she is made fun of, scolded, and beaten. Jean helps her, but soon she dies and leaves Cosette in his keeping. Jean goes to a hotel where the innkeeper and his wife (Thenardier and Madame Thenardier) are keeping Cosette.  She has been working hard although sick. She imagined a castle on a cloud where things were better and her life was perfect. But that was far from the truth. It took lots of money and convincing to get poor Cosette out of their filthy hands.  

    10 years later, a revolution has begun to heat up and we meet two new characters, Marius, who is a part of the rebel group, and Eponine, who is the innkeeper’s daughter and knows her way around town. The two have known each other for their whole lives. Jean figures out that Javert has found someone who bears Jean’s face, so Javert thinks it is Jean and brings the man to court to be trialed. Jean confesses to Javert that he is really the runaway convict. Marius and Cosette run into each other, and although never meeting before, fall into deep love. But when Marius turns around for a second, when he looks back, the beautiful stranger is gone. The rebels start to build a barricade, for soon there will be a war between rich and poor. Meanwhile, Eponine is in love with Marius, although he does not share the feeling. Marius asks Eponine to find Cosette’s house for him. She does and soon the two lovers meet again, without Jean noticing.

   The war has begun. Marius goes off to fight and tells Eponine to deliver a letter to Cosette for him. The rebels are holding their own pretty well. Or so they think. There is a spy among them. Javert tells them that the enemy is resting for the night, which is far from the truth. Eponine comes into the battle scene, wounded, shot. Well, Javert is definitely busted. With Eponine shot, Marius realizes that he was blind to her love. He regrets that he was not in love with Eponine. After all, she was always there for him. She soon dies in Marius’s arms. I must say, this part brought tears to my eyes. The music was so lovely and it made you feel as though you knew Eponine. And Marius seemed genuinely sad. Anyway, I’ll fight the tears, and let us move on. So, Jean volunteers for the war. Jean shoots a sniper, saving several men and in return, Jean can do anything he wants with Javert. He could kill him with a swipe of a knife, a slow and painful death or just shot him in the head, a quick death. He does neither, Jean spares him and lets him go. A wave of bullets comes in and Marius gets shot. Jean, knowing who he was, carries him away, saving Marius and himself, for another wave of bullets flies through the rebel camp. Those bullets shot through all of those men, ending the revolution.

    Javert, free, is confused. He wonders why Jean let him go. After 19 years of torture for stealing a piece of bread. After giving him a number. Even after chasing him, trying to catch him, to end Jean’s life once and for all. He set his torturer free. Speaking of Jean, with Marius injured and Jean exhausted, he turns to Javert for help. Javert does help him, but soon, because of his confusion of why he should, Javert takes his own life, even if Jean didn’t.

    Poor Marius, hurt, confused, he consumes himself in the grief of the loss of all his friends and he does not know who has saved his life. “Empty chairs at empty tables where his friends will sit no more.” Once he is healed though, he must put his grief behind for he asks Cosette to marry him. Jean is pleased with this, for he is ill and knows that he soon will no longer be on this earth. Marius is like the son he never had and he knows that Marius can look after Cosette. Like Jean knew, with Cosette and Marius, the newlyweds, beside him, he joins Fantine and Eponine in Heaven. The musical ends with the whole cast singing, “Do You Hear the People Sing?” It’s enough to bring tears to a grown man’s eyes.

    This musical was truly unforgettable, and we must give credit to some people who made it that way. Close your eyes. No, read this first, then close your eyes and imagine a play with talented actors, costumes, the whole shebang. But, when an actress opens her mouth to sing, her voice is gorgeous, yes, but it is alone, with nothing to accompany it. She also is in darkness. Pitch black darkness. Can you imagine how boring the play would be? No music at the suspense, at the thrill, at the intermission, when people sang? No lights on the stage? No dramatic curtain closes? I know I would want a refund. The musicians playing the beautiful sound effects in the pit and people backstage are very important, see? So, to the actors, singers, dancers, the musicians in the pit, the people backstage, and the people we absolutely can’t forget, the directors, teachers, and inspires, thank you so much for working so hard, giving your time, effort, and talent into this beautiful musical, Les Misérables.

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4 Comments

4 Responses to “Les Misérables”

  1. Reese Harrell on December 14th, 2017 8:55 am

    Great Job Emma!! You used a lot of details!

    [Reply]

  2. Julie Mayne on December 14th, 2017 10:09 am

    Yes! Great job to all the cast, musicians, and crew! It was AMAZING!!!!

    [Reply]

  3. Mr. Z on December 14th, 2017 4:19 pm

    Fantastic article, Emma. Thanks for mentioning the musicians! I believe you will be in the “pit” or on that stage some day…soon.

    [Reply]

  4. Marjorie Tourville on December 21st, 2017 12:40 pm

    This production was done with outstanding excellence!

    Emma, your summary of the event was also outstanding!

    [Reply]

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