An assignment for theatre appreciation class is go to a play and write a one page paper about the production. There are bonus points for going to more plays. One of the ones I've been to is Les Misérables that is not playing at Huntsville High. It is today and the 26th at 2pm and the 24,25,26 at 7:30pm. There is also Anton in Show Business at UAH ending today with a 2:30 performance in Morton Hall that I've attended. Here is the paper I wrote for Les Misérables:
I attended Les Misérables. It was performed by Huntsville High School. The program says that it was performed entirely by students. This was not the case. The musicals I attended earlier this semester at UAH and Grissom had student orchestras. This musical had a professional orchestra including a UAH professor. I wondered why the school band was not used. I’m pretty sure it would have been cheaper. I overheard someone say during the intermission that the production cost was over $50,000. This seems excessive for a high school performance, but I guess that could be true. A professional orchestra and new equipment purchases make it seem more likely.
The theatre was pretty technically advanced for a high school. The auditorium is probably the newest one in the area. A full turntable was used; it was much nicer than the other turntable I’ve seen in Huntsville. The sets and scenery were fairly elaborate and large, but they worked well. There were stairwells on set pieces on either side of the far downstage area that did not move; I think they also served as the first set of legs. The lighting was also thorough. I think there were at least 2 cyberlights. A few gobos were used. One was stars, but the lack of any light on the large and jagged set made it seem like the drop had fiberoptics or LEDs built in. A projector on the backdrop was used for information on some of the settings. In addition to the backdrops and act curtain, another drop was used. From google I guess it is a scrim and costs like $2000. It was pretty neat. It was mainly used for scene changing while others were performing downstage of it, and a little action was performed behind it. This was mainly Jean Valjean and the army singing, and I did not catch any significance to the portions performed behind it, as they continued after it was lifted with no apparent change in emotion or message, only more moving around.
The program included over 60 pages of ads. It was so large that I noticed the extra weight riding my bike to my gramma’s house afterwards. Each of the main actors with a bio section mentioned the director’s name, and frequently they were in one of Mr. Chappell’s productions instead of a Huntsville High School Theatre production. Hopefully this was not Mr. Chappell’s idea. There are two performances per day. This seems like a lot for a 3 hour play, especially since the start times are only about 5 hours apart. When my high school performed Les Misérables it was pretty lame. This one was much better. The singers were good, especially Jean Valjean. It’s still not a favorite play of mine, though. The story and message are good, but I could use a break from the singing. It would make it more effective for me that way, at least. The costumes were mostly effective. The peasant costumes were made from plain colors, but they were clean, not faded, and had no holes or rips.
As seems typical with musicals, a sound system was used. And it screwed up a little towards the end. I didn’t notice any text messaging in the audience, so that was nice. That might have also been because the majority of the audience seemed like grandparents of the performers. The person in front of me had binoculars. I wondered if this was because his vision was poor or he just wanted to see better. I also wondered how the makeup looked through those.