“Even the Darkest Night Will End and The Sun Will Rise”

Two days ago during the Christmas Eve service, I heard something that reminded me of these lyrics. These lyrics remind me of the phrase “those who have walked in darkness have seen a great light”, meaning that even at a dark time of your life, you will always have hope if you walk with Christ. It says that even in the darkest of times, you will be able to move past it and allows you stay strong no matter what. These lyrics are from the finale of Les Mis during the second version of “Do You Hear the People Sing”. While Les Mis is a tragedy, there are lots of lyrics that represent that the show has hope in it. Hope is a very inner emotion of the show, which takes time to find.

We live in a broken world, but if we hope for a better future, we may be able to fix it. The more love and compassion we show, the more fixed this world will become. Hate cannot drive out hate because only love can do that. Violence cannot drive out violence because only kindness can do that.

Christmas Day

I loved yesterday’s Christmas Eve Service. The prelude was extremely beautiful and it made me cry. It was filled with violins and a trumpet, which makes the 10:45 night service very special. All night, we sang wonderful songs. The best part of this service was during “Silent Night”. The lights go off and the candles are lit.

Today is Christmas Day, the celebration of Jesus’ birth. He is the Messiah and he saved us from our sins. He is a very important part of Christian history. If we walk with Christ, we will have a very spiritual journey. He helps us with difficult times and can redeem us.

This year for Christmas, I enjoyed opening my presents. I ended up getting a Sancho Panza and Don Quixote statue along with the book, Don Quixote. There is something interesting about the character of Don Quixote. He is a tragic and comic character, which really interests me. I got a brand new purse. I also ended up getting an American Girl doll, Grace, who is the girl of the year of 2015. I also enjoyed all the different stocking stuffers.

Christmas Eve

It is hard to believe it is Christmas Eve already. I am looking forward to the late Christmas Eve service. It has the most beautiful music at the beginning. However, my favorite part is during “Silent Night”. During that song, the lights go off and the candles are lit and it is such a wonderful moment. I love when the service ends, it is already Christmas. Christmas is about the birth of Christ and this service truly celebrates that.

White Christmas

Last night was my first time watching the movie musical, “White Christmas”. It was a wonderful movie complete with good songs and an amazing plot. The movie was a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit. I loved the way the movie honored the main character’s general towards the end. But the best scene was when the song “White Christmas” was sung a second time and a real white Christmas was revealed.It was another happy musical and I am never surprised if a new musical is happy. From my experience, most musicals are happy and I am glad about that.

 

“I Dreamed a Dream”

(Major/Minor Spoilers)

This summer was a year like no other. I got the opportunity to see Les Mis in the West End. I had a dream of seeing it in London ever since I became obsessed with the musical. It changed my perspective on musical theatre. It changed how I viewed the different emotions because I felt emotions that I had never felt before and it also strengthened previous emotions. Before Les Mis, I believed I would hate tragedies and that was a big mistake. Because Les Mis is a tragedy, I learned from the past.

Even though Les Mis is a tragedy, it is so much more than that. Some people do not seem to understand why I love it because the title means “the miserable”. The show has an experience that is very different from other musicals because the musical is an extremely powerful emotionally moving musical.

When I saw the show in the West End, it was the best experience I ever had with the musical. The moment the lights went out and the music began, I knew it was more than I originally excepted. The first couple of notes were just so powerful. Because the show is sung-through, the orchestra has to be incredible. The current Les Mis cast is absolutely brilliant and when I saw it, I had an understudy for Valjean. His name was Adam Bayjou.

Adam played a wonderful Valjean. During the prologue, I could hear the anger of Valjean and I could see his transformation through the kindness of the bishop. After Valjean was released, my tears started and I excepted them to start later, but glad they started when they did. I could see Valjean’s compassion toward the poor especially towards Fantine and his adopted daughter.

Jeremy Secomb played Javert, the antagonist of the storyline. For the longest time, I did not feel for this character at all. I did not even care that he died. But I finally saw Javert when Jeremy played him. He was the most effective during the suicide scene. Before he started singing, I could already sense the suffering of Javert. Even though I do not like Javert, I am glad that I finally cared.

Rachelle Ann Go played the tragic heroine, Fantine. I truly saw Fantine from beginning to end. My heart was breaking for this character. From the moment the character sang, I was truly feeling the desperation of the character. “I Dreamed a Dream” was heart-renching and so was her death. She had just gotten the part only a month before I saw the show in London. Out of all of the characters, I feel the worst for Fantine.”I Dreamed a Dream” had a little bit of hope in it. Once it got to “Lovely Ladies”, Fantine sounded much more desperate and that is the hardest scene to watch. I am not a big fan of the scene because it makes me feel uncomfortable, but I tolerate it because I understand why it is there. My heart continued to break during Fantine’s death scene. I could feel how broken Fantine was and I could feel Valjean’s compassion by saying he will care for her daughter.

The two actors who played the Thenardiers’ were hilarious. I laughed during “Master of the House” and by this point, the audience deserves a good laugh. Besides being funny, I could also sense their greedy, abusive, cruel side. I first saw their evil nature in how they treated Cosette. But after Cosette was rescued by Valjean, they started being abusive towards their own daughter.

Carrie Hope Fletcher played the heartbroken Eponine. Eponine is the daughter of the Thenardiers’. After Cosette was rescued by Valjean, her family fell into extreme poverty and they started to use their abuse on Eponine. I could feel Eponine’s unrequited love towards Marius. Every time I heard her sing, the words were very heartbreaking to me. During “On my Own”, I felt a new emotion in Eponine, which was anger. It is fun discovering new emotions of characters you already have gotten to know.I find it sad that Eponine did not get happiness until “A Little Fall of Rain”, which is her death scene. At the beginning of that song, I believed that Eponine was dying from being shot and I knew something was wrong after I heard the gunshot because I looked up and the nonverbal I saw made me know something was wrong. The thing I love the most about this scene is that Marius stayed with her and that she got to die in the arms of the man she loves. Rob Houchen played Marius and in this scene, he truly was compassionate towards her and offered her comfort. I truly saw how devastated he was after she died and how much Eponine meant to him.

Enjorlas and the students truly were brilliant. Each time they sang, I felt their passion towards the uprising. Every song that they sang had an epic and uplifting quality. But I felt hopeless during “Drink With Me”. They knew the uprising will fail after Eponine died. They realized they were outnumbered. Even though they felt hopeless, they still stayed passionate even in the final battle.

The set truly made the show come to life. It was very 3d, which made it feel like you are part of the action. The set was very gray and bleak, which represented the time period. The revolving stage helped with time change. You would be watching one scene and all of a sudden the stage turned and another scene was going on. I loved this technique during the uprising. When Gavroche climbed over the barricades, they turned the stage and seeing Gavroche getting shot saddened me. There is something special about live theatre that makes emotions more real. After the uprising ended, they turned the stage and shown a light on Enjorlas, which saddened me as well. The fog helped scenes come to life as well. This production had a lot of fog starting with the opening scene.

When the show ended, I was completely speechless. Usually when I see a show, I do not stand up right away, but for this I did. It was more than I thought. Some emotions I always knew were in the show were stronger. Those emotions that became stronger were compassion, hope, and forgiveness. Sadness was also stronger because I felt it more than I used to. I felt the emotions of uplifting, exciting, joy, love, funny, compassion, passion, hope, anger, guilt, hopeless, sad, desperation, devastation, depressing, heartbreak, loneliness, uncomfortable and I know I felt more than that.

After the show ended, I went to the stage door and met the actor who played Valjean. He signed my playbill and I had my picture taken with him. I truly “dreamed a dream” that night. I was lucky that I was only nine rows back from the stage. It added to the experience and it made me feel closer to the action. I have no words to describe how much Les Mis means to me. Once again it may be depressing, but is also uplifting. Because “Do You Hear the People Sing” is the anthem of the show, it shows that Les Mis is uplifting.

“To Love Another Person is To See the Face of God”

“Bah, Humbug”

This is what Scrooge likes to call Christmas. He says that Christmas is a humbug, meaning that the holiday is pointless.

The movie, “A Christmas Carol”, is a wonderful movie about this bitter and angry man who only cares about money. He does not pay Mr. Crathcit  much money at all. Mr. Cratchit has a crippled little boy named Tim and the family cannot afford much. Mr. Scrooge does not understand the full meaning of Christmas.

When he finally is home on Christmas Eve, he is haunted by Marley’s ghost, who warns him of what is going to happen throughout the night. Mr. Scrooge learns that he is to visited by three spirits because Mr.Scrooge needs to turn his life around. He does not quite understand why he has to be visited by these spirits. The first spirt is to come at 1:00, the second at 2:00 and the last will come when he pleases.

The first spirit is the ghost of Christmas past. He takes Scrooge back to the time when he was just a boy. Mr. Scrooge remembers that he did not have a very good childhood. He was abandoned by his father at a young age. Eventually when he was older, his sister comes to pick him up because his father wants him to come home. But his father only wants him to stay for three days. His father has set him up with a job. Through this job, Scrooge has fallen in love with Belle, but he created a greed for money at such a young age, which has made Belle leave him. Through the ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge learns of what has made him the person that he has become.

The second spirit is the ghost of Christmas present. He sees the Cratchit family celebrating Christmas. When Scrooge sees that they eating a small goose, Scrooge becomes saddened because it was all they could afford. When he learns that tiny Tim will die if the future is not altered and Scrooge is upset by the news. The ghost also takes Scrooge to his nephew’s house to show them celebrating Christmas. Some of them seem happy that Scrooge did not come. The last image that Scrooge sees saddens him the most. He sees the homeless celebrating Christmas and sees that even though they did not get much, they still celebrated Christmas as family. The spirit shows him that ignorance and want are Scrooge’s family. This spirit leaves him and Scrooge does not want to be where he currently is.

The last spirit is the ghost of Christmas future. This is the ghost that made Scrooge the most upset. He sees people celebrating the death of a certain individual and robs from this person and Scrooge cannot believe he is hearing and seeing all of this. He wishes to know who this dead man was. But first, this dark spirit takes him to the Cratchit’s house. Scrooge is saddened to see that tiny Tim has died. But the family still manages to remain faithful and hopeful despite the death. He asks the spirit if what he has seen will be able to be altered, but this spirit never talks. When Scrooge learns that the man everyone was talking about was him, Scrooge cannot believe people who glad that he died.

When Mr. Scrooge finally arrives back in his bedroom, he finally gets redeemed. He says he will keep the ghosts of the past, present, and future in his heart. When he learns that it is Christmas by a boy, he tells the boy to buy the biggest turkey. Scrooge decides to give it to the Cratchits, which gives the family the best Christmas they ever had. He also donated a large sum of money to the poor. He also agreed to his nephew, Fred, to  come to his Christmas dinner. He finally has learned what Christmas is about. That same day, he doubled Mr. Cratchit’s salary and Mr. Cratchit is surprised by this. Mr. Scrooge agrees to help the family in any way he can in order to provide for tiny Tim.

As it turns out Tim did not die. He finally was able to fully walk again and was cured of his illness. Mr. Scrooge became like a second father to Tim. This movie truly teaches about the meaning of Christmas. If it wasn’t for the spirits, Scrooge would not have been to change from a miserable, bitter man to a caring man. “God bless us everyone”

Inspirational World of Les Mis

 

(Minor/Major spoilers ahead)

For the next couple of blogs, I will be focusing on Les Mis. My love for that musical is deep and it changed my perspective on musicals.This musical taught me  that tragedies can be loved and that they are more than being sad.

One thing that people do not seem to understand about Les Mis is how can such a sad musical be such an uplifting one? The first time I watched the movie, I did not see past the sad world of the musical. Eventually I was able to find how inspirational the show is. The title of the show may mean “the miserable”, but it is so much more than being a tragedy. The earliest moment of spirituality in the musical is the bishop scene. This show has themes of humanity, hope, love, sacrifice, forgiveness, compassion, and redemption.

The famous bishop scene is a very important scene. The main character, Jean Valjean, has just been released from prison for stealing a loaf of bread. No one  would give him a chance because he was an ex-convict. There was only one person who gave him a place to stay for the night. That was the bishop, who plays a small, but crucial role to the story. The bishop gave Valjean a meal and bed for the night. Despite the bishop’s kindness, Valjean woke up in the middle of the night and stole the bishop’s silver. When the police took Valjean back to the bishop, the bishop took his kindness a step further. He lied and said that he gave Valjean the silver as a gift and gave Valjean two candlesticks. The bishop was able to forgive Valjean for stealing his silver. The bishop told Valjean that he must use the silver to become an honest man. He called Valjean his brother and showed him the ways of the Lord. Because of the bishop’s compassion, Valjean decided to turn his life around. After being released from prison, he was filled with anger and hate, but the bishop’s act saved him. The bishop’s act saved him because Valjean finally got a sense of hope and knew that he had an opportunity to become a better person, but in order to do that, he would need to break parole, which is against the law.

Before turning into a better person, Valjean reflected on what the bishop had done. He reflected on his past and the compassion of the bishop. When time passed, Valjean became mayor a town and opened up a factory. At this point in the story, he is no longer an angry and harsh man. He shows compassion towards to the poor.One of his factory worker’s ,Fantine, has been fired from his factory by the foreman because she had an illegitimate child. Fantine had to turn to prostitution in order to provide for her child. After an abusive customer harassed her, Javert tried to arrest her, but Valjean intervened and saved her from being arrested. The compassion he shows towards Fantine is a big part of the story. He felt like it was his fault that Fantine was fired because it was his factory. When Fantine was on her deathbed, he promised her that he would raise her daughter, Cosette, as his own. Valjean was able to save Cosette from her abusive and sad life from the Thenardiers’. Valjean was shocked that Cosette was treated so poorly. Cosette was the first person that Valjean was able to love.  Surprisingly Valjean saves Javert’s life as well. Valjean had the chance to kill Javert at the barricades, but Valjean decides to let him go. The last time Valjean saved a life was at the barricades. Marius, the boy that Cosette loves, was a revolutionary student at the barricades. Because Valjean wants to keep Cosette happy, he went to the barricades to save Marius. If Valjean did not do his heroic action, Marius would have died. After Valjean did all the the things that he did, he became almost like a saint and ended up with a strong redemption. Valjean was able to die in peace because he was with Cosette and Marius.

There is another character who gets redemption, but that character gets destroyed. That would be Javert, the antagonist of the story. Javert is a policeman who is fully committed to the law. He sees the world in black and white and believes that “once a criminal always a criminal”. Javert spends his entire life trying to capture Valjean after he broke parole. But eventually Javert gets destroyed. After Valjean released him, Javert realized that Valjean actually did become a better person. Javert could not believe that he let Valjean go after Valjean came out of the sewers with the unconscious Marius. After that scene, Javert was going through extreme suffering. He still wants to turn Valjean in because that is what the laws says, but Javert does not think that it is fair because of the goodness he saw in Valjean. But Javert still did not have the power to forgive Valjean for breaking parole. He eventually committed suicide because his life seems completely pointless.

There is another moment in Les Mis where I believe there is compassion. It is during “A Little Fall of Rain”, Eponine’s death scene. Even though the scene is depressing, it still is such a bittersweet moment. While coming back to the barricades, Eponine got shot and the wound ended up being fatal. After Marius realized that she got shot, he could not believe what is happening, but he decided to be brave for Eponine. There is happiness in this scene because Eponine is dying in the arms of the man that she loves. The love she has for Marius is unrequited, but to die in his arms is very special to her. This is her happiest moment of her life. Marius did the right thing and provided her compassion and comfort during these last couple of moments of her life. Even though dying from a gunshot wound is painful, Eponine does not feel the pain she is in because Marius is there. This is my favorite death scene of the musical.

Sacrifice is also another major component of the spirituality of the show. Fantine and Eponine, the tragic heroines of the musical would do anything for the ones that they love which includes death. The students also sacrifice their lives for what they believe in. They always remain passionate for their cause no matter what. Every song they sing is epic except for “Drink With Me” because they realized that they lost hope in the rebellion. After Eponine died, the students realize that they are going to lose and will also die. But at the final battle, they still stand up for what they believe in even if they will eventually die.

There are different kinds of love in this show. Fantine has love for her daughter, Cosette and would do anything for her. After being fired, she had to sell her possessions including her body in order to care for her daughter. Her life is a quick downward spiral and after Valjean promises that he will raise her daughter, Fantine gets to die in peace, comfort, and joy.There is love for a country, which comes from the students. The students stand up for what they believe in because the government is very unstable and there is only one person left who cares for the poor. They want to make the world a better place and they stay passionate for their cause, even though they eventually feel hopeless. There is the love triangle between Marius, Cosette, and Eponine. If it wasn’t for Eponine, Marius never would have found Cosette. Eponine did everything that she could in order to make Marius happy. She did not care much about her own happiness. Eponine protected Marius and Cosette from her father after he tried to rob Valjean’s house. Valjean and Marius both show love towards Cosette in different ways. Cosette is Valjean’s adopted daughter and he would do anything for her even if it means saving the one that she loves. I know it seems as if Marius does not do anything to show love towards Cosette, but I think he does. After Marius found out that Valjean saved his life at the barricades, he took Cosette to Valjean. Cosette and Marius saw Valjean one last time. Marius wanted to tell Cosette what Valjean had done for them and how Valjean saved his life.

“To Love Another Person is To See the Face Of God”

“Even the Darkest Night Will End and the Sun Will Rise”

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