Friday, February 17, 2006

and rain will make the flowers grow

Since I cannot be in Paris this Spring, I opened up a bit of Paris into my heart last night. If you'd been here, you would have seen me silently singing along to Les Miserables at the Opera House in Boston. As with most things French, I adore Les Miserables. Never has a musical touched my soul in the way these songs do. I felt myself shivering with goosebumps as Javert hung off of the bridge over the Seine, or when Eponine walked in the dark seeing the trees full of starlight. I can envision myself climbing up onto the barricades, or waiting to hear news of those students in battle.

I've seen Les Miserables a number of times, starting from the age of 13. With surprise, I've noted that each viewing brings a connection to different characters. I identified with Eponine as a child, now my heart beats along with Cosette and Marius. My mother identifies with Fantine's songs for her daughter. I suppose it is a reflection of the stage you are living in.

I took Josh to see it for the first time a few years ago, and when one of my dearest friends told me she'd never been, I jumped at the opportunity to see it again. It is a bit silly, considering that I could sing you the musical from start to finish, but I still find myself breathless as the gunfire starts. Even a cold that forced me to blow my nose through applause and loud songs couldn't keep me away.

I hope one day I'll be able to pass along my love of musicals to a child or children. I suppose in those moments my character identification will shift again, perhaps to Jean Valjean. For the first time, I found myself tearing up at his sorrow over Cosette's new love.
She was never mine to keep.
She is youthful, she is free.
Love is the garden of the young.
Heartbreaking. Isn't that the hardest part of having a child?

For the rest of today, I'm sure that I'll be in my office humming the tunes. Do you hear the people sing?

11 comments:

jo(e) said...

Les Miserables is first play I took my two oldest kids too. They loved it.

I think love of musicals does get passed down ....

Honey Bunny said...

i've never seen les miserables. maybe i should!

Angie said...

I have never seen a live performance of Les Miserables. I did see the film. Until I moved to Northern Va there wasn't an opportunity to see many theatrical pieces.

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Oh my god, I love you. When I was in 8th grade, my drama friend S. and I used to act out "A Little Fall of Rain" in its entirety. (I was Marius.) We were freaks. I haven't seen Les Miz since I was in high school. Ah, teenage angst and Eponine. Two great tastes that taste great together.

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

I forgot: have you seen "Into the Woods"? By far my favorite musical. The story is amazing. And now that I'm a parent, it's even more personal.

Yankee T said...

I love this glimpse of you.

Chris said...

I have never seen it either.

I guess I know who to call now when I finally get around to seeing it :-)

Suzanne said...

I love Les Miserables too. ALthough I haven't listened to the soundtrack in a long time, I think I still know most of the words. Around the time I saw it, I was in mucho unrequited love with someone. So you can imagine my affinity with Eponine!

Chatty Cricket said...

Beginning when my sister was 13 and I was 10, we went to see a Broadway show every year for our birthdays. Then we's beg our parents for the soundtrack and we'd both sit at the top of our stairs in the upstairs hallway (had the best acoustics) and belt out the songs. My favorite show has to be Chicago, I saw it with Bebe Neuwirth and Ann Reinking.

The tradition is still living although may now take a hiatus since we both have teeny babies.

Chatty Cricket said...

ps- I saw it when Bebe and Ann were starring in it. I did not go to see the show along with Bebe and Ann. Although that would have been INCREDIBLE!

Genevieve said...

I loved Eponine when I saw it as a kid too! I wonder if now I would identify more with grown Cosette (though she's always seemed a bit bland to me) or Fantine? Probably with Jean Valjean, protecting his daughter.

My favorite time was seeing it in Prague (on a chorus tour). I didn't speak Czech, but I "simultaneously translated" (VERY softly) into the ear of my friend who'd never seen it. Just from having listened to it so many damn times.

APL, are you going to Into the Woods here next fall? We should coordinate!!