Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Socks & Les Mis

yes, as you can guess, my loving compatriots, i am still wearing my wonderful, walking-in-warm-scented-mud socks. and while wearing these socks i have an isatiable craving for tea, i think i may go and find some.

ok, got my tea, and settled in with my socks and blankey to write, as captain von trapp said "what may be the last blog ill be able to write for some time". yes, sadly, study catches up with the best of us and i suddenly realized that having done nothing of use for several months it is time to force my nose firmly back to the grindstone.

on a totally unrelated topic, everyone must, when they are presented with the chance, see Les Miserables. i've been writing furiously for years begging and imploring the theatre company to tour, bt to be honest, even if they did, perth isnt exactly up there on the cultural ladder. in short, les mis is without doubt the most tragic and phenomenal pieces of theatre to be seen, ever, the world over, well not quite but it really is good.
the drama begins in a prison where male protagonist Jean Valjean is in the process of serving 19 yrs hard labour for stealing a loaf of bread then trying to evade arrest. in a powerful and moving moment of sonorous interchange between Valjean and prison guard Javert Valjean is given his parole and becomes again a free man. he shacks up with a kindly priest who gives him food and shelter, then while the generous gent sleeps Valjean attempts to make off with the silver. in doing so he is surprised by the priest who's head he bashed with a candlestick while running away.
Hardly surprising, our doubtful hero is arrested by two of london's finest who drag him back to face the injured priest. injured priest behaves very well and states that in fact he gave the silver to Valjean and then goes on with a really long speech about how he has 'bought his soul for god'
valjean goes straight, becomes mayor of a french town and opens a factory into which comes broken single mother Fauntine to work. she is exposed as a 'fallen woman' by a bitchy co-worker and is fired and forced into prostitution to pay medical bills for her daughter Cosette. after contracting what is thought to be consumption she meets valjean on the streets as she is dying and begs him to care for her sick child. he agrees
throughout all of this the nasty Javert has been seeking Valjean for breaking his parole, and finally thinks that he has found him. he goes to the town mayor (u guessed it, Valjean) to tell him that he has found this criminal. Valjean has a large soliliquy about the moral dilemma between the truth and saving his skin, at the end of which he chooses to spare the man and tell Javert who the true criminal is. he does and then escapes arrest to journey to the village where Cosette lives with an innkeeper and his wife.
the innkeeper and his wife are completely odious and treat cosette very badly while they treat their own daughter Eponine very well. in short, Cosette is bought from them and removed with several amusing musical interludes in the process.
at this point, shortly before the end of the 1st act, the revolutionaries are introduced. they are the students involved in the 1st, failed attempt at revolution against the monarchy in france. hardly surprising, in this rabble of rebels is the sensitive yet rugged hero, the young French revolutionary Marius. in an accidental meeting Marius and a significantly grown-up Cosette fall in love (and noone saw that coming or anything),the night before she is sent away to school in Paris. Marius returns to the oh-so-classy pub where his friends plot revolution and bores them with his newfound love for cosette in yet another rather moving vocal interlude. Anyhow, in an amazing coincidence Eponine, the daughter of the cruel innkeepers, is also in love with marius, an incredibly obvious fact he hasnt yet realised. he asks her to carry a message to cosette, but on the way she is intercepted by Valjean who learns through her of his daughter and marius' love. he also learns of the revolutionary plot timed for the next day, knowing all the while that it is DOOMED TO FAIL! in some odd loop of logic he rushes away to fight at the side of the revolutionaries. anyhow, they fight, everyone dies but marius and valjean, including the tragic eponine. during the fighting valjean and javert meet finally face to face, but valjean chooses to spare his sad and pathetic life. this act of random kindness seems to unhinge javerts mind and confined way of thinking, and after a protracted and somewhat catchy soliliquy he throws himself from a bridge into fast running water. valjean dies from his battle injuries but never fear, all is not lost, he lives just long enough to tell the story of his life to cosette and marius and see them marry, assumably in an effort to live happily ever after.


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