2016-0301 Les Misérables

What a fantastic night! We were privileged to shoot one of the final dress rehearsals for Les Misérables – a musical put on by the students of Preston’s College. What talent there is in our town!

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The black and white pics are here: http://www.ianwalker-photography.com/Events/Les-Mis%C3%A9rables-Prestons/ and the download password is rehearsal

The colour pics are here http://www.ianwalker-photography.com/Events/Les-Mis-Prestons-College-2016/ and the download password is rehearsal

enjoy!

The Les Misérables novel begins with Jean Valjean, a poor man who has stolen bread for his sister and her children. After serving 19 years in prison, the police inspector, Javert, gives Valjean a yellow passport with the record of Valjean’s criminal punishment, which must be presented to the police captain of any town that he enters. When he arrives in the town of Digne, only a pious bishop gives him food and shelter. Valjean, surprised and unnerved by the Bishop’s generous hospitality, steals the silver in the house and runs away.

The police bring him back by morning, but the Bishop claims that the silver was given to Valjean, not stolen, and that in fact he had forgotten to take the most valuable pieces of the set. The bishop then commands Valjean to use his freedom to redeem himself and live as an honest man. Valjean assumes another name, builds a factory, raising the living conditions of the entire region, and soon is appointed mayor of the town. The only person who opposes his goodwill is police inspector Javert, who does not recognize the mayor as the ex-convict he met years ago.

The narrative here turns to Fantine, a beautiful woman whose lover abandons her and their child, Cosette. In desperation she leaves Cosette in the care of the Thénardier family, who then use Cosette as a servant while requesting more and more money from Fantine. To pay for Cosette, Fantine must resort to prostitution. When an incident brings her to the attention of Javert, who condemns her to six months in prison, Valjean stops the punishment and has her sent to the infirmary.

His efforts to bring Cosette to Fantine are stalled by the ‘discovery’ of a man believed to be Jean Valjean. Valjean ultimately confesses his true identity, and then is confronted by Javert as he returns to Fantine. In her anxiety Fantine dies, and Valjean promises to her that he will find Cosette and care for her. He escapes Javert and rescues Cosette from the Thénardiers, and they live in the privacy of a convent until she grows up.

A young man, Marius Pontmercy, sees Cosette walking with Valjean and falls in love with her. Suspicious of the man following them, Valjean takes Cosette to their other house in Paris. To find her again, Marius enlists the help of his friend Eponine, the daughter of the Thénardiers and secretly in love with Marius. Marius and Cosette spend a month in courtship before Valjean’s plans to travel to England to escape the political turmoil disturb their bliss.

Marius decides to end his life by fighting in the barricade, constructed by the students in protest to the unsympathetic government, and sends a note to Cosette. Eponine blocks Marius from being shot, and dies after confessing her love. Valjean learns that Cosette loves Marius, and he too joins the barricade, first coming upon Javert tied up in one of the rooms. Valjean decides to let him go despite everything Javert has done to capture Valjean. When Marius is wounded, he carries his body through the Paris sewers to escape. Valjean finds Javert waiting on the other side, and asks only to deliver Marius to his grandfather’s house. Javert, finding himself conflicted between his drive to imprison a criminal and his debt to Valjean for sparing his life, drowns himself in the Seine.

After Marius recovers from his injuries he and Cosette marry, with Valjean’s small fortune given as Cosette’s dowry. Valjean confesses to Marius that he is an ex-convict, and Marius gradually distances him from Cosette in repugnance. An exchange with Thénardier unintentionally reveals many of the good deeds Valjean has done, such as saving Marius in the sewers. Marius and Cosette return to Valjean on his dying bed, and he dies in the happiness of their embrace. http://www.hyperink.com/A-Brief-Summary-b573a12

The original manuscript by Victor Hugo…

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b6000941q/f15.image

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