Les Miserables

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Les Miserables

Samantha Rivera, Staff Writer

Produced as a play in London in 1985, Les Miserables gained its popularity in the British capital and received eight Tony Awards on Broadway in 1987 for its advanced screenplay. Winning many first place trophies and ranking second place over 78 other high schools in the Fall Theatre Festival, on March 14 to 16, the Arcadia Stage Theatre Company presented Les Miserables.

Playing Cosette, cast member senior Dominique Stellern said, “From Rosemary, to Babette the feather duster, to blowing up into a blueberry as Violet, and now ending with Cosette, my journey at Arcadia Stage has been magical! I would like to thank ALL of the directors and choreographers, Jean, who have inspired me to keep on going. The lessons she has taught here have touched my heart, and I’ll continue to take them into my next chapter as I continue my theatrical education. I hope you [enjoyed] the beautiful story of Les Miserables and wish you a life of forgiveness and compassion.”

Cast member senior Ava Bishop added that, “Being [my] last year at Arcadia Stage, [I was] excited to end the year with Les Miserables.” Ava also said, “Spending all my time at Arcadia Stage has taught me valuable lessons about life and pursuing happiness. Placing first, second and fourth in my previous DTASC [Drama Teachers Association of Southern California] scenes, I [was] excited to share my last competition with the people who have been with me from day one. I hope you enjoyed the show and shed a couple tears!”

Theatre Director and Department Head Steven Volpe stated, “At its best, live theatre is a seamless integration across multiple disciplines. Cast members not only learn to sing, act, and dance, but they engage in research to gain an understanding of the historical significance of religion and the political and social climate to better understand the world of the play. In turn, they gain a deeper understanding of the text and develop creative decisions based on their research. At the same time, stagecraft crew members use their research to work alongside professional designers and create set pieces, bold costumes, and props that are relevant to the musical’s themes and time period. Even so, the power of theatre is from a deeper place than great technique. The work is emotional. It demands vulnerability. It requires artists to step away from the crowd to discover their purpose and to create their own voice.”

Volpe continued, saying Les Miserables teaches the characters’ desperation for survival, “seeking justice, finding safety, reconciling their past and choosing to love as they would want to be loved. And yet, the most powerful elements of the story turn on acts of mercy, love and forgiveness. The sweeping arcs of these characters reflect to us our own realities and ask how will we respond when faced with our own sets of difficult choices? How then shall we live?” Learning about guilt, mercy, and sacrifice through the characters, the cast members’ performances and overall production was such an amazing experience! Keep up the amazing work!

 

Photo by Alyssa Rave