On Saturday, we took our sons to see Les Miserables in London. For my husband and me, it was the third time of seeing the show. For the boys, it was the first. And it had been at their request that we went. They knew the music because I play it on my iPod in the docking station in the kitchen... and because I sing it endlessly. They have often asked questions about the story line and so on, and I was delighted when they asked to be taken to see something so cultured!
They both thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have been talking about it ever since. They raise points that take me by surprise and impress me no end. They noticed things about the staging and the lighting that your average theatre goer does not notice. My elder son spoke at great length about how each character who died was immediately picked out in a bright, tight beam white spot... except Javert, who fell into darkness. I hadn't noticed that. Good one kiddo.
Then tonight he pitched me a curved ball.
"Mom, in Les Mis, whose story do you think was the saddest?"
Wow! They were all pretty sad.
- Jean Valjean who is imprisoned for 5 years for stealing bread to feed his sister's family, and then a further 14 for trying to escape... and who then spends most of his life on the run, having broken parole, in the process of trying to take care of Fantine's Cosette.
- Fantine who falls in love, loses her virtue and is literally left holding the baby. In her desperation to provide for her daughter, she turns to prostitution and dies of the pox.
- Javert, who sees life in black and white, only to have it all blow up in his face, when he is denied a heroic death, shown mercy by someone he believes to be sin personified.
- The revolutionaries who believe that the people of France will join them, if only they set things in motion, only to find that they are alone... and to die at the barricade for absolutely no gain.
- Eponine who starts out as her parents' little princess and winds up a street urchin in love with a student who is in love with someone else.
- Gavroche, streetwise and defiant, who wields more power than one would expect from one so young, only to die at the barricade trying to collect bullets from the fallen soldiers to take back to the revolutionaries.
Do you know the story? Who do you think has the saddest story and why?