During Family Day weekend, I was lucky enough to attend Keyano Theatre’s rendition of Les Miserables. I use the term lucky for two reasons; I was given a ticket for opening night to join a dear friend and the show was an experience I will never forget.
If you've ever seen a theatrical show at Keyano Theatre, you’ve probably also felt the excitement and curiosity of the anticipated audience before the lights dim. As I sat in my seat, patiently awaiting the show, I can hear voices around me, chatting up a storm about what they think will happen and how they felt about attending opening night. Their exhilaration was contagious because I began feeling butterflies in my stomach; I knew something great was about to happen and I didn’t want to wait any longer. I hadn’t seen the movie nor have I ever had the opportunity to see the show on Broadway but that was fine by me. I had mentioned this to a friend of mine earlier in the week and she alluded that the show may be hard to follow. I decided to let the show make that decision for me, that the characters could work their magic and I would be in awe of this fantastic experience. Were my expectations high? Maybe.
The show kicked off with a subtle yet heart felt introduction by the show’s Director, Claude Giroux, followed by music, lights dimming (yah, the moment I’ve been waiting for) and all the energy in the room focused forward to the stage.
The curtain opens and several characters expand across the stage; prisoners who look dirty, tired and sad. The whole show is a musical. Every word, every sentence and every feeling is revealed in a song or to a tune. Even the prisoner’s fatigued and weary words were brought to life in a jingle. The main character, Jean Valjean, takes center stage and begins to tell the audience his story. He shares his struggles, he shares his tested faith and as he opens his mouth to sing about his life, I am touched. His voice was amazing and it sounded so beautiful. I turn to my friend and tell her those exact words and she nods, never taking her eyes off stage. He was one of a whole cast of exceptionally talented people, portraying the life’s of these characters. The level of talent, to me, was just mind blowing. They sang, they laughed, they cried, they were angry as well as silly, and all the while, singing a story of heartache and loss, struggles and triumphs and of course love.
The props were phenomenal and as the show continued, these props were graciously turned, tilted and shifted to reflect each scene, never missing a beat. The craftsmanship and detail into the background was without a doubt brilliant. As I sat watching, I felt as if I was in 19th century France, standing on the sidelines of such drama and turmoil. My emotions began to flood my eyes as tears ran down my face. I laughed and cried and felt so lucky to have seen the show.
I would like to applaud the cast, crew and volunteers of Les Miserables. They certainly did a spectacular job. They delivered an unforgettable performance, one that soared higher than any expectation I had set.