A "Miserable" French Play This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   If someone were to tell you that he or she had just seen "Les Mis"rables," you would probably think of a glamorous Broadway production rather than a group of miserable, wretched people. Yet this is what the title means when translated from French. The play relates the struggle of one man, Jean Valjean, in France before, during, and after the French Revolution. Having been jailed and broken his parole, Valjean is constantly hunted by the policeman Javert. Later he accepts the responsibility of caring for Cosette, the young daughter of Fantine when her mother dies. Together they flee to Paris where the storm of revolution is brewing among the young students.

This play features some great singing to go along with excellent staging and sets. The entire play is done on a revolving stage, which is cleverly used to move the characters from scene to scene. The innovative use of lights, props, and sounds produce remarkably believable effects such as Javert jumping from a bridge and Valjean roaming the sewers.

Another notable aspect of "Les Miz" (as it is frequently called), is its child actors. This production uses a total of five actors to play the two major child roles (young Cosette and Gavroches, a street-wise young boy involved in the revolution). Both characters are played quite well and have pleasant singing voices.

In all, the play contains some very tragic and heart-rending moments, yet two amusing characters, the Thenardiers, lighten it up. Their antics offset some of the sadness and help make "Les Mis"rables" an excellent play. "Les Miz" is currently playing at the Shubert Theatre (in Boston) through May 26, and a limited number of student tickets ($16 each) are often available. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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