For this production I specifically chose a seat on the side that you need to lean forward in. I wanted to see how much the director/”stager” in this theater took that into consideration – especially because this had been such a long running show in this specific theater. Perhaps the effect would be accidental but I was still curious (Since the theater was decently placed I was able to get a nice Italian dinner [I miss pasta mom. Hint hint.] before crossing the street to the theater). I believe the 1st step to making theater accessible to everyone is to start by making it accessible to everyone in the theater. You want people walking away talking about the wonders of the show not grumbling about the view from their seats. For one don’t design theaters with poles? Or with Grand/dress circles so steep I keep missing my row because I think I might fall backward. (Wait. That might be a nerves thing not stage. I’m not even afraid of heights or dropping but those stairs can be nerve-wracking) . The theater now though is fine. Has retained it’s classic architectural aspects like the theater holding Noises Off and Mousetrap but then what could you really do to enhance Les Mis? And wouldn’t it be a shame to deface those beautiful angels?
The show started off tough but I think that’s because I didn’t know the plot and I’m so used to knowing it ahead of time. I think that really affects the experience I have with a play. I also think that’s the reason people get more or different things out of seeing a play twice. With some plays I’m comparing them to other plays or with their movie counterparts and with some I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on. As much as that works with some (like Mousetrap and Noises Off – I don’t think I’ve written about those but I’m on a train for 5 ½ hours so I’ll get caught up) but I find it can also be distracting. Rather than enjoying the show as I would like to and possibly evaluating it I am focused throughout the whole show on plot discovery. Ok, I’ve thought about it and I think it is exactly because I’m trying to evaluate it for theatrical elements that I want to know the plot ahead of time. This play is seeming similar to A tale of two cities. I haven’t read it in awhile so I can’t say for sue why but there just seems to be some sort of similarities – characters, settings, just bits and pieces. I don’t expect it to end the same (though it is a wonderful novel ending – one of the most selfless lovers in all of literacture. It’s partially, if not all, because of him that has made it such a classic though I do warn that it could be disturbing to some, the French revolution not the lover.) Still the music is powerful, the voices excellent and the story is quite compelling – I want to know what is going on rather than last night where I just wanted the torture to stop (and actually I may have forgotten to mention that there was torture scenes – the first “scene” was a woman continually screaming, differently but continually for at least 10 minutes. It was only her on stage in her underwear with a burlap bag over her head and that’s about the point that I realized how awful it had the potential to be – then the bad subtitles began … and it was all downhill from there…) This however seems to be all uphill. And I’m really looking forward to the second act.
Act Two and 4/5 days later
Haven’t had the time to write this until now – too busy with more shows and Edinburgh. The second act was even better through the first. It was so moving I had to buy a programme and unfortunately it was sold out last night so I couldn’t see it again, but I’m sure I will someday. All I can say not is it was a wonderfully performed and expertly written musical. Perhaps tied as my favorite musical with Wicked.
The Queen’s theater was beautiful as you can see below: