...Why?

Any discussion related to any production or staging of Boublil and Schönberg's Les Misérables.
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Re: ...Why?

Postby Enjolvert » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:48 pm

Acaila wrote:I really liked that they restored her book death in the film. And I absolutely agree that it would make the stage show ending make more sense.

Also it's quite rude and shortsighted to blame Boublil and Schoenberg for "butchering" a character when they were hardly the only ones with a role in any changes. Every lyricist, director, in house director and performer has a hand in the creation of a character onstage. Especially considering most of the criticisms of Éponine's character in the musical do not stem from the original French version.


I really liked how they restored the book death as well in the film because it made it more of a proper 'sacrifice' than it is in the stage show. I'd like them to implement it in if it's somehow possible into the stage show.
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Re: ...Why?

Postby MmeBahorel » Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:15 pm

It goes in and out - there isn't one thread of character interp changing in one direction. Each actress and each director has an idea of how she/he wants the character to come across, and those will vary every time someone new is hired.

The creepiest, most book-accurate Eponines I've seen have been Celia Keenan Bolger in 2006/7 and Felicia Curry in 2008/9. Different productions. After Celia's creepy Éponine, Broadway revival did not change resident directors but hired an actress, Mandy Bruno, who didn't quite work out and had to replace her at short notice with one of the understudies, Megan McGinnis. Megan had understudied Celia, so was intimately familiar with Celia's Éponine. Megan's was a 180 - very like Sam Barks.

Felicia was in a regional production; I saw plenty of other regionals over the few years rights were available and most Eponines were more like Sam.

There may be fads within the Mackintosh productions, but it isn't hard and fast, and definitely not within any sort of a continuum. (the last couple I saw were terrible, in similar ways, and in no way could their interps be aligned with Sam's.)
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Re: ...Why?

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:57 pm

I wouldn't say Barks was creepy in the film, but I think she got around some of Hugo's Éponine's unstabler qualities. Putting OMO before ODM helped this, I think; really made it seem like a downward spiral for her. I even saw a bit of the "suicide by cop" mentality in the film's Éponine segment of ODM.
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Re: ...Why?

Postby Gigi » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:25 am

I've always reasoned Éponine's appearance at the end as her being grateful to Valjean for saving Marius' life. Well yeah, she was already dead when he saved Marius, but maybe she could see it from heaven or something.
In the movie I was kind of looking forward to the Fantine/Éponine harmony because I like both Anne's and Samantha's voices a lot, but then again seeing Colm Wilkinson as the bishop is so touching and right at that moment, so I wasn't disappointed after all :)
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Re: ...Why?

Postby 23623 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:02 am

Glad that I'm not alone. This is a question which has stayed in my mind since the first time I watched Les Mis. Re-reading the bishop part of the brick brings it up again. The bishop has every reason to be the one standing by Fantine and leading Valjean to heaven. He saves Valjean's soul and that leads to Valjean saving Fantine's child and Marius. Having the five of them in the finale could remind audience of this heartwarming connection. And I just really want to hear the bishop sing the final line "to love another person is to see the face of God"; it suits him very well! This wonderful man deserves more attention. :D

Well, but I know it's only in my mind. I never understand why Éponine is there. Neither the reprise of her song nor the fact that her character is beautified can justify her appearance. The interpretation that Fantine's there for Valjean/Cosette (I find this idea quite adorable though) and Eppie's there for Marius sounds a bit weird to me. This explanation indeed makes some sense, but actually Fantine and Éponine are singing to Valjean, not to Marius and Cosette. At least for me, the direct implication would be that they come for Valjean. I don't think I would think more than that, but maybe it's just me. :oops:
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Re: ...Why?

Postby deHavilland » Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:51 am

_23623_ wrote:Well, but I know it's only in my mind. I never understand why Éponine is there. Neither the reprise of her song nor the fact that her character is beautified can justify her appearance. The interpretation that Fantine's there for Valjean/Cosette (I find this idea quite adorable though) and Eppie's there for Marius sounds a bit weird to me. This explanation indeed makes some sense, but actually Fantine and Éponine are singing to Valjean, not to Marius and Cosette. At least for me, the direct implication would be that they come for Valjean. I don't think I would think more than that, but maybe it's just me. :oops:


Another way of thinking about it is that Éponine herself is thanking Valjean.

Fantine is there to honor and commend Valjean for having taken on and succeeded in her dying wish of him taking care of Cosette. He took the lessons he learned from the Bishop, and the task set to him by Fantine and created a long and fulfilling life for the both of them. But it's time now for his life to come to an end and for those successes to be rewarded in paradise. The care and loving of Cosette now passes on to Marius.

But Marius wouldn't be there if Éponine hadn't sacrificed herself for him. (The new staging for the Toronto production that has also carried over to the latest Broadway revival does actually have her physically pushing him out of harm's way, taking the bullet herself, which is closer to the book and more in keeping with the point.) And, almost more importantly: even though Éponine sacrificed herself for him, Marius wouldn't have lived very long if Valjean hadn't carried him home from the barricade.

In a sense: two acts are being honored here. Fantine is thanking him for raising Cosette, Éponine for saving Marius. These are both very important acts that are crucial to Valjean's development. Raising Cosette is the obvious one, but reading Marius' letter and setting out to make sure that against whatever odds: that boy comes home to the daughter he has always been so very reluctant about letting go of is just as important. He raised Cosette, but then he set things up so that when it was his time to go -- as it is in the finale -- she still has someone to love and protect her. Which means that he truly can die in peace.
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Re: ...Why?

Postby 23623 » Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:02 pm

deHavilland wrote:The new staging for the Toronto production that has also carried over to the latest Broadway revival does actually have her physically pushing him out of harm's way, taking the bullet herself, which is closer to the book and more in keeping with the point.

Wow that's great!! I wish I could see it live!! Will future productions keep the new staging? I hope they will. At least until the day I finally get a chance to see Les Mis on stage. :P
deHavilland wrote:Fantine is there to honor and commend Valjean for having taken on and succeeded in her dying wish of him taking care of Cosette. He took the lessons he learned from the Bishop, and the task set to him by Fantine and created a long and fulfilling life for the both of them. But it's time now for his life to come to an end and for those successes to be rewarded in paradise. The care and loving of Cosette now passes on to Marius.

But Marius wouldn't be there if Éponine hadn't sacrificed herself for him. (The new staging for the Toronto production that has also carried over to the latest Broadway revival does actually have her physically pushing him out of harm's way, taking the bullet herself, which is closer to the book and more in keeping with the point.) And, almost more importantly: even though Éponine sacrificed herself for him, Marius wouldn't have lived very long if Valjean hadn't carried him home from the barricade.

In a sense: two acts are being honored here. Fantine is thanking him for raising Cosette, Éponine for saving Marius. These are both very important acts that are crucial to Valjean's development. Raising Cosette is the obvious one, but reading Marius' letter and setting out to make sure that against whatever odds: that boy comes home to the daughter he has always been so very reluctant about letting go of is just as important. He raised Cosette, but then he set things up so that when it was his time to go -- as it is in the finale -- she still has someone to love and protect her. Which means that he truly can die in peace.

This is a beautiful interpretation! Totally agree with you on Fantine, that's how I see the connection among these characters. It makes the finale very heartwarming and hopeful, in contrast with previous death scenes. Don't know if it's just me but I really feel happy (which is quite uncharacteristic in a show like LM!) for Valjean, Cosette and Marius in the finale. And indeed, if Éponine's death is staged that way the finale will make much more sense, though at the same time her character will be changed completely. Die-hard book fans may feel uncomfortable about Eppie being like "I can't be with Marius but I want him to be happy with Cosette" but I'm fine with this. Blame it on the movie which dragged me into this fandom. :mrgreen: Though I'm still looking forward to the bishop's reappearance (please!), now I can partly accept Eppie's.
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