If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

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If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby Enjolvert » Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:44 pm

What would they be? While the musical is great, most of us would probably have some things here and there that we'd wanted to be added in, or changed, to either make a certain character bigger, change the perception of them in the musical, or any other reason. So, any changes at all, or are you completely happy with the musical?
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Re: If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby Enjolras-the-jaw » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:32 am

OH! I would love to see more of little Cosette and Valjean's relationship, as well as some more stuff surrounding Marius, like his Grandpa. Also, Combeferre should be more a character, with a Bui Doi-esque song on the barricades like his speech in the book. It would be awesome if they could include Le Cubac's death, but that is probably unrealistic. Also, Courfeyrac should sing after Enjy in DYHTPS, because 'Ferre needs to get the "To be Free" line. Bousett needs more lines, and Jehan needs the line "Marius, what's wrong today, you look as if you've seen a ghost" as if he can see he's in love. Finally, I'd love some refrance to Patria as Enjolras' "Mistress".

From an acting standpoint, I'd love to see a Javert reach out with his hat to Thernardier during the Robbery, like the "Would you like my hat" line. Secondly, I'd like to see less funny and more creepy Thernardiers. Finally, I want to see some more of realistic shooting by the students on the barricade, not just shoot, wait 5 seconds, and shoot again.
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Re: If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby Enjolvert » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:41 am

Good points there. Since I'm doing Combeferre in my school production, I can see what you mean and would enjoy if he perhaps had more character development. Obviously they're limited with what they can do, but I would like to see more of his character. I also think he could maybe do with a mini-solo type thing similar to his speech in the book when he warns everyone to send them away. It can be quite hard to get his character across through acting alone. You can only really give the impression of his importance by being near the front a lot of the time and standing next time to Enjolras in DYHTPS which I do with him.

I wouldn't mind seeing more of Valjean and Cosette either, but I guess they're kind of limited with what they can do with them in it, so they really just try to get both their feelings across in Rue Plumet. Cosette definitely is underused in the show when you compare her to how much of the book she is in.

The Le Cabuc one would be a good idea as well. I've always thought that it would be good for Enjolras if he had a full solo, and if he was to have one then the perfect time would probably be directly after that shooting.
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Re: If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby Enjolvert » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:53 am

Anyway, to continue from what I already said, there are a few other things I wouldn't mind seeing as well.

When Fantine dies, I think it could work if her death was more similar to that in the book, where Javert comes in before her death, as opposed to after it.

I'd also give Éponine a more crazy sort of look like that in the book as it's more effective and works better, although that can be done to a certain extent depending on the actor who is playing her.

I've already talked about Combeferre for the students, but of course stuff could be done with the others as well. Perhaps give Courfreyac and Marius more dialogue together to give across the idea that they are good friends with each other. The same could also be said for Joly and Bossuet as well. Also, even if Bahorel isn't too relevant compared to some of the others in the book, I'd like to see him in the musical even with a few lines at least. Possibly work in a death for him before the final battle. Same could also be said for Provauire if you work it into one of the battle scenes.

Seeing Marius' arrival more canon would be better, as opposed to him just being there and saying he's going in One Day More, but whether that would take up too much time I'm not so sure.

Musically wise, I'd give Enjolras lines at the end of One Day More. It looks a bit awkward whenever all the major characters are singing there and he isn't. He should have something in my opinion.

Cosette should arguably also have a solo in there as well, since she's such an important character. Where it would come in though, I'm not so sure. That's the complicated part.

To add to that, I'd take the son part out of BHH. It's more canon than people give it credit for being, however I still think that the lyrics would be better if they accurately described Valjean's feelings towards Marius, in the way that he doesn't like him. Storyline wise, I think it's more effective and interesting, as well as realistic.
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Re: If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby The Bricklayer » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:50 pm

I would cut Éponine from the Epilogue and evenly distribute the "ghost" lines between the Bishop and Fantine. Something along the lines of...

FANTINE
Monsieur I bless your name

VALJEAN
I am ready Fantine!

Msgr. Myriel
Monsieur, lay down your burden

Valjean
At the end of my days

Fantine
You’ve raised my child with love

Valjean
She’s the best of my life

Msgr. Myriel
And you shall be with God
---
Fantine
Come with me
Where chains will never bind you
All your grief
At last, at last behind you

Msgr. Myriel
Lord in Heaven
Look down on him in mercy.

Valjean
forgive me all my trespasses
And take me to your glory.

Valjean, Fantine, Msgr. Myriel
Take my hand
And lead me to salvation
Take my love
For love is everlasting
And remember
The truth that once was spoken
To love another person
Is to see the face of God.

(Then Éponine would come out with the students in the DYHTPS Reprise)

I would also really love to see the National Guard swarm the barricade during one of the attacks.
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Re: If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby Auf die Barrikaden » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:17 pm

I'd give Valjean a "Who am I" reprise after he read Marius letter. Something about how he looked after Cosette and protected her his whole life and how he must now protect her again even by his own sacrifice. Going to the barricades like the voyage to Arras is his most difficult decision he must face in his life after the bagne. For this I would even cut OMO for it is rather pointless for the whole plot to be frank.

BTW, I really am curious to which tune the new "Suddenly" will be sung, if it's existing music or completely new material.
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Re: If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby AriadneIS » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:31 am

I'd try to change Éponine's character a bit - in the musical she's almost entirely centered around Marius, while in the Brick, her focus was more on her life in poverty and her slight craziness. Maybe a scene with her before we see her relationship with Marius - something that shows her and Gavroche as siblings, maybe? Or her carrying the letters for Thenardier?
I also think that Cosette should have a part, waiting for Marius and hoping he'll find a way for them to be together even with Valjean's decision.
Other than that, the musical's wonderful :D

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Re: If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby Ravariel » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:40 pm

I would like to make some changes to Turning--the despair it portrays is accurate to the women singing it, as well as beautifully heartbreaking, but some of the details are just plain wrong (as discussed in many places on this site, I believe.) I'd suggest edits like these:

Did you see them, going off to fight,
Children of the barricades--they lasted out the night.

and

Who will wake them? No one ever will.
Too late to remind them that a summer day can kill.
Every schoolboy, taking up his gun,
Fighting for some new world that would rise up like the sun,
Where's that new world now the fighting's done?

(I'd also like to see Combeferre, or maybe Enjolras, have a last, hopeful, strongly idealistic verse to Drink with Me, something along the lines of "Drink with me to days to come, drink with me to days to be.")
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Re: If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby YoungStudentMarius » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:39 am

I would cut out the part where Marius introduces Éponine to Cosette at the end of The Attack on Rue Plumet. If Cosette knows Éponine was there and saved her and Marius, then it makes her look like a jerk for not doing anything, especially when she takes credit for the scream in front of Valjean. It makes her seem petty and ungrateful, and Éponine all the more selfless, which is a big bummer for Cosette fans, and even when I first saw the musical, that whole exchange seemed very out of place. And the scream itself is very not canon. Like, at all. But I still kind of secretly enjoy it... I know they need a climax for a song like AoRP that has been building steadily ever since the first note, but it would also be cool to see crazy Éponine scare off an entire gang of men with just a word. And having Marius never know makes it even sadder for Éponine, like in the book. In the book, she was only a shadow, a shadow that was everywhere, lurking, changing the scene from backstage, and always longing to be noticed. The musical gave her flesh and blood, and put her front and center. That is not necessarily always a bad thing, and comparing the two interpretations is fun, especially tracing the "evolution of Éponine" from book to stage over the years.
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Re: If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby Enjolvert » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:31 pm

I like some of those ideas. Personally I would like it if Éponine could just scare them off, but that means going to her more insane side, which isn't always shown in the musical and is generally always shown in the book instead. I do like the idea though of Marius not seeing her, which makes it all the more tragic to her.

Then though, the problem is why Valjean wants to leave. He could just claim to have seen Thenardier in the area a few times I guess like in the book, however the audience may not get that since we only see Thenardier in the area once in the musical: one of the times where Valjean in fact doesn't actually see him.

It's a good idea though, and the part I definitely agree with is not introducing Cosette and Éponine again, considering Cosette would probably remember who she was as well which would prompt some sort of reaction.

The last bit summing up her involvement in the book is good though. You actually don't really get a lot of her in it: she just happens to show up at a lot of different points briefly. What I do like about the musical though is that they take a different view of that and properly explore her. I think a lot of the book put things in Marius' perspective, where Éponine's just there and Cosette is at the centre. The musical takes a more even, equal view of things which I like.
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Re: If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby YoungStudentMarius » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:34 pm

Then though, the problem is why Valjean wants to leave.


Umm... You know that instrumental part right after Marius says, "Someone is near...Let's not be seen! Somebody's heerrree!" (I never liked that line either, because it made it seem as if Cosette and Marius were doing something wrong, so they were so intent on not being found out, when they really just never really thought to tell anyone.) What if, since we're cutting Marius' last part, that instrumental part came right after Thenardier's "Go Undergroooouuuuunnnnndddd!!!!!"

Right before and during this instrumental part, Jean Valjean could run out on the balcony, see people-like shadows diving into the sewers, and immediately flatten himself against the wall, so the audience could see him, and none of the characters could. At the same sort of time, you could have Cosette run out a side door and send Marius off, then stop short, noticing Thenardier's gang flee. Suddenly, you hit that really quiet part as the entire sewer gang, Éponine, and Marius all disappear, and then Valjean (from the balcony) would notice Cosette of all people outside as she is standing surprised, and that could prompt the "My God! Cosette! I heard a cry in the dark!..."

Then Cosette could say something along the lines of
"I heard the cry as well, papa
I was afraid of what they'd do
Who were those men
Why did they fly?"

Then you could kind of do the rest of the lines just like they are (Maybe it would work better for Valjean to say to himself "Three men I saw...," though. Either way).

Anyway, that's the only crazy complicated idea I could think of (Although it might actually be simpler then it sounds if it was onstage).

What I do like about the musical though is that they take a different view of that and properly explore her. I think a lot of the book put things in Marius' perspective, where Éponine's just there and Cosette is at the centre. The musical takes a more even, equal view of things which I like.


That's why I kind of think they belong together. :D It seems like any problems you find with one are always fixed with the other. That why Éponine is another one of my favorite Musical characters, because she is so different and yet so similar, and I think her transformation was the most drastic of the others (Except maybe taking out all of Marius' past and making an impoverished student look like a little rich kid-- [what's up with the embroidered waistcoat and silk cravat?]), and yet it kept a lot of her character, too. It's a fine balance, and it occasionally tips on either side, but I love seeing both "center" Éponine and "shadow" Éponine.
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Re: If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby Enjolvert » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:41 am

YoungStudentMarius wrote:
Then though, the problem is why Valjean wants to leave.


Umm... You know that instrumental part right after Marius says, "Someone is near...Let's not be seen! Somebody's heerrree!" (I never liked that line either, because it made it seem as if Cosette and Marius were doing something wrong, so they were so intent on not being found out, when they really just never really thought to tell anyone.) What if, since we're cutting Marius' last part, that instrumental part came right after Thenardier's "Go Undergroooouuuuunnnnndddd!!!!!"

Right before and during this instrumental part, Jean Valjean could run out on the balcony, see people-like shadows diving into the sewers, and immediately flatten himself against the wall, so the audience could see him, and none of the characters could. At the same sort of time, you could have Cosette run out a side door and send Marius off, then stop short, noticing Thenardier's gang flee. Suddenly, you hit that really quiet part as the entire sewer gang, Éponine, and Marius all disappear, and then Valjean (from the balcony) would notice Cosette of all people outside as she is standing surprised, and that could prompt the "My God! Cosette! I heard a cry in the dark!..."

Then Cosette could say something along the lines of
"I heard the cry as well, papa
I was afraid of what they'd do
Who were those men
Why did they fly?"

Then you could kind of do the rest of the lines just like they are (Maybe it would work better for Valjean to say to himself "Three men I saw...," though. Either way).

Anyway, that's the only crazy complicated idea I could think of (Although it might actually be simpler then it sounds if it was onstage).

What I do like about the musical though is that they take a different view of that and properly explore her. I think a lot of the book put things in Marius' perspective, where Éponine's just there and Cosette is at the centre. The musical takes a more even, equal view of things which I like.


That's why I kind of think they belong together. :D It seems like any problems you find with one are always fixed with the other. That why Éponine is another one of my favorite Musical characters, because she is so different and yet so similar, and I think her transformation was the most drastic of the others (Except maybe taking out all of Marius' past and making an impoverished student look like a little rich kid-- [what's up with the embroidered waistcoat and silk cravat?]), and yet it kept a lot of her character, too. It's a fine balance, and it occasionally tips on either side, but I love seeing both "center" Éponine and "shadow" Éponine.


Some of those ideas are excellent. You really need to get into staging! I think that could actually work very well thinking about it. Cosette's little bit there could work well too.

I like the way they do Éponine as well. One of the best things, for me, is the way that they really show inside her head in On My Own. They show her perspective of the world; of Marius and what she feels. It really makes the audience feel sorry for her and sympathise her in a way. But then, there's the brutality of the next scene. Nothing matters. None of what she feels matters, because she's dead then. She never will get her happy ending. It's sad and brutal, but it's perfect in a way too. I like the way both the musical and book show her.
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Re: If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby YoungStudentMarius » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:56 pm

It is kind of perfect isn't it? Personally, I prefer the lyrics to Mon Histoire (French OMO) better than the English version, and there's one phrase in particular about that that really stood out to me.
I think the translation is something like,

"I don't feel called to remember my loneliness and my misery
I'm waiting for the night
So I can recall him in my memory"

I know that's really close to
"And now the night is near
Now I can make believe he's here"

But in the latter, it's happening right then, and she can enjoy it. Even though she starts immediately reminiscing in the former as well, she's still waiting, waiting for the one moment of the day where she can be happy. There's no way she could know that when the night came-- she'd be dead. He wouldn't be in her memory, she'd be in his. Just a memory. I think this version gives a little more glimpse into her head, because even though the lyrics of OMO are powerful, I think they are so popular that regular people don't always go deep into them to see what they mean (unlike everyone here), and so many Eponines just play the song like its all about Marius and lovestruck-ness and unrequited love. It is about that, kind of. But it's deeper. Marius isn't just a crush for Éponine, he is a symbol. A symbol of all she ever wanted, ever lost, and never had. He represents the life that she dreamt about, and which is nothing more than a fantasy, which she never had a chance at. That's why it hurts so much when she dies.

She never will get her happy ending.


And that's what the whole song is about! (Sorry if you've heard this song before or are a more advanced French student than myself [which wouldn't take much], but hey, I don't carry around the lyrics to the concept album and revival cast in my backpack every day for nothing!)
Basically, "Mon Histoire" means "My Story." The entire song is about Éponine talking to herself, making up a life for herself in which Marius is there beside her. She dreams about someday "writing her story with him." And then the next scene comes, and...and...end of her story.

In OMO, it's
"I love him
But when the night is over
He is gone
The river's just a river
Without him
The world around me changes
The trees are bare and everywhere
The streets are full of strangers"

In MH, it's
"Yes, I love him
But the nights are so short!
In the morning
He resumes his path
And the world
Becomes the same again
And loses it's colors and its rainbow and its crown."

I like that part about how it wasn't when he left that the world was horrible, but that it was always that way, and only he could add the beauty and spark into it. The last lines always get me too, because they're all about the hopelessness of her story and about how she will never get her happy ending.

"Yes, I love him!
But I am alone in the world
All my life, I waited for a shadow!"

Can you think of that? To realize that what you dreamed about and hoped for could never actually have come? To realize that you had forever deluded and comforted yourself with chimeras that were never any possibility? To have sat, and endured, simply for the hope that could come from waiting, and then to realize that it had always been in vain. The dream was a shadow, just like her.

"My story
Is an empty shell!
A dream that's full of sweetness
Of which I've never had any part!

Yes, I love him
Yes, I love him
Yes, I love him
All alone
In my story...

Thanks for listening to me ramble like that, but I, too, love those character insights the musical gives Éponine. If you want to hear the song (with a nice translation on-screen) here's link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8InAfhYgtcg
It's a really beautiful version, and also one of the best renditions in any language (In my opinion).
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Re: If you could make some slight changes to the musical...

Postby Enjolvert » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:08 am

It's a good ramble and I agree with what you're saying on the subject for definite. You sure do know your Les Mis!
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