Monday, March 14, 2005

Les Misérables (Play)

Now, I do not know much (or you could say anything) about Les Misérables, but I would just like to give a very basic look on the story. For any fans of the play, if you spot a mistake, please do not hesitate to post a comment. :)

Les Misérables was originally a novel written by Victor Hugo, more famously known for writing The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It was then made into a play (not by Andrew Lloyd Webber though) and into a movie. The movie was not very successful as it was adapted to some extent, but I am sure it was fine and I look forward to watching it. I only know the very basics of the story, so bear with me.
Les Misérables stars prisoner 24601, a man named Jean Valjean. He is thrown into prison after breaking into a house to steal a loaf of bread for his starving sister, niece and self. After 19 years of slavery, he is put on parole. 5 years for what he did, the rest because he tried to run. But now he's out and looks for a place to stay and work, but no one will welcome him because he is a criminal. But a kind bishop welcomes him into his house, gives him the largest share of food and lets him spend the night. But upon leaving, Jean steals the bishop's silverware. The bishop discovers this but does not report him, instead he gives him his silver candlesticks. Moved by this, Jean wishes to turn over a new leaf. He escapes the law, but his old prison guard, Javert, will not rest until he finds Jean and locks him up again. 10 years later, Javert arrives in a small town. In the factory, an accident happens - an old man has been trapped underneath a heavy runaway cart and is caught in a deadly situation and no one dares go near to help in fear for their own life. However, le mayor, the owner of this business goes to help, despite the warnings for him to stay away, and saves the old man. Javert sees all this and is shocked at le mayor's selflessness, and that he can only recall one man who would do something like that - prisoner 24601. "How can you be sure that I am not your man?" le mayor asks. Javert tells him that Valjean has been found. Unmistakably, Javert has had Valjean arrested and is to be put on trial that very day and sent to a lifetime of slavery. Later that day, le mayor surprisingly appears at the trial, and to everyone's shock, declares, "Who am I? Who am I? I'm Jean Valjean! And so, Javert, you see, it's true. This man (the accused) bears no more guilt than you! Who am I? 2-4-6-0-1!"
The events after that are rather vague to me. These are what I know:
An employee of Valjean's, Fantine, had given birth in wedlock. Now she is in the hospital for lung cancer. After his confession at the trial, Valjean comes to the hospital where he accompanies Fantine until she dies. Before that, she gives her young daughter, Cosset, to his safekeeping. After she dies, Javert comes and demands Valjean follow him back to the prison. But in a struggle, Valjean escapes - he had promised to take care of Cosset and so he will. Then, all I know is that there is a group of revolutionaries, one in particular named Marius who falls in love with Cosset and Valjean is pulled into the revolutionaries etc. Finally, Javert lets Valjan go and takes his own life by jumping into the river, then Valjean dies of old age and meet Fantine again. At Marius and Cosset's wedding, the ghosts of Valjean, Fantine and Eponine(another co-lead character) and the revolutionaries who died all come to visit the married couple and the play ends with an inspirational song, the theme song of Les Misérables - 'Do You Hear The People Sing?' Oh, I hope I get to see the play!

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