What I Learned from Tragedy

Well, it was back in high school when I first discovered the genre of tragedy. I treated the genre very poorly. Told myself I will NEVER love a tragedy (little did I know what would happen in my first year of college. Throughout all the years I was at Fletcher (referring to high school)- stayed close minded to that genre. Each time one was read, I already did not like any of them.

Then out of the blue in December 2012, I experienced Les Mis for the first time. My family was taking my sister and I to see the film. I actually was unsure coming in, but the only reason why I decided to go is because I knew the song, “I Dreamed a Dram”. I wasn’t even told what genre the musical was so that way I would even go. If I had known Les Mis was a tragedy, that first time never would have happened.

Well it was after Fantine’s death when I realized Les Mis was a tragedy. I was extremely shocked and refused. Never did a tragedy exist in musicals before: all I had seen previously were happy musicals. Nothing made sense at all. I didn’t even know how to respond or feel or react. So that experience was not the best time I even had. Even though I thought Les Mis was TOO DEPRESSING, I somehow came out with “Do You Hear the People Sing” stuck in my head. Then a day or a few weeks later, I don’t know why I did that, but I started researching the musical myself.

March 2013- I don’t know why I decided to watch the film again. That time around, I got so much more out of Les Mis. It helped a lot knowing ahead of time that I was seeing a tragedy. I was able to realize there was something special about Les Mis, and at the same time, I felt uplifted at the end. That made no sense at all- I originally thought all tragedies were pure sad. But after the 2nd chance, the rest is history.

Halton Theater

By Summer of 2013, I was obsessed with Les Mis. I had dug quite deep into the musical trying to figure out why I felt uplifted. I soon found the answer: the themes of hope, love, forgiveness, compassion, sacrifice, humanity, and redemption were why. That same year, the community college I attended put on a phenomenal production of that musical. I was there three times: first with family on Nov. 15, and an usher the 17th and 24th. That production truly was the motor for wanting to see Les Mis in the West End.

Well, July 30th, 2015 was when I saw the West End production. I already was going to be in England that year for a Bristol Pilgrimage, which would start in London. My family went up two days early to get used to the time change and get more out of London. I was seeing Les Mis with my mom, and our seats were the 9th row back from the stage. It was surreal at first- from seeing the Queen’s Theater to buying souvenirs to noticing I had an understudy for Valjean to seeing the set to seeing how close I was- nothing felt real. Then after I heard the first notes of the orchestra, I knew this was no dream, but a dream becoming reality. Those first notes also told me it was going to be more than expected, and they were right.

What do you know: Nov. 5th, 2017 was my fifth time seeing the stage show. This time I was Gardner Webb University. Once again had a understudy (this time for Eponine). I was seeing it in Greenville at the gorgeous Peace Center. I came in fresh meaning I wasn’t go to compare the cast to my West End. Making that decision made me see the US Tour cast for what they were, and was able to respect and appreciate my understudy. It actually lived up to the West End cast in their own way. After all, this was the 25th anniversary production: it felt like it had more Victor Hugo in it, and it truly showed the vastness of Paris. There were some scenes I loved a lot more in this particular production: for example, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”.

Peace Center

What do you know again: that every other year pattern continued. This time, I experienced the US Tour with Blumenthal. That was Nov. 3rd, 2019, and was another date with my mom. 2019 had five of the exact same actors/actresses playing the same role as 2017- the Javert (Javert), Cosette (Jillian Butler), Marius (Joshua Grosso), Enjolras (Matt Shingledecker), and Madame Thenardier (Allison). Another thing happened again: another understudy (for Valjean).

Just like 2017, Joshua Grosso and Matt Shingledecker were still standouts. I can easily say why Joshua was a standout, but not for Enjolras. As a matter of fact, Joshua has become my favorite Marius- part comes from his chemistry with Cosette, part came from an added personality trait (awkwardness), and part from how he interacted with Eponine. Due to that, I was able to explore Marius and Cosette a bit further, but at the same time not ignoring Eponine. That new personality trait made Marius a much more charming character- due to that, Marius is almost a core favorite character.

Ovens Auditorium

So in a short period of time- four theaters, four casts, and in total six times. The stage show might only have four casts, but I have seven casts in total: I also have seen the film, 25th concert, and the staged concert of 2019 (which I saw in cinemas). I think it is crazy how for some characters, I only have five actors, some I have six, and for some seven. 2019 was filled with a number of repeats—part of which were from my West End cast.

Les Mis truly taught me a lot about the genre of tragedy. What I once believed about tragedies and what I knew about musicals were challenged. I never knew a tragedy is not just a tragedy. Due to Les Mis’ spiritual side, it makes it such a inspiring and uplifting. Due to the nature of the book, it makes perfect sense why the musical is sung-through. Through several of the songs, there is some kind of spiritual nature happening. Compassion is shown at death scenes, most of the characters have hope, etc……I believed that death scenes would be both unmemorable and that song couldn’t happen at those moments. I thought I knew the full capability of musical emotions, but Les Mis truly showed me a different side to emotions: due to heartbreak entering the picture, it strengthened them and made them more powerful. I think I had a hard time with tragedies at first because the word can through you off guard, and it seems as if I didn’t know “catharsis”- that is why tragedies are more and make you have a positive experience and not the other way around.

Les Mis is the reason why I am passionate about musicals. I actually am able to pick up on negative emotions faster in other musicals. It still is odd going back to Fletcher remembering how I once felt about the genre. Les Mis proved me wrong in more ways then none.

My opinions on Marius

Les Mis is filled with several characters. However- two of them are disliked when they shouldn’t. Marius and Cosette are unjustly hated mainly because 1) Cosette is not that complex and 2) complain that Marius is a jerk, loves Cosette instead of Eponine and believe that he did not treat her fairly. Well, that is insane- basically, what people are saying is that all they want is for Marius and Eponine to end up together. I do not agree at all.

Major Spoilers:

Look- there are certain plots in some books that if you get rid of one tiny thing the entire story falls apart. That is the case for Les Mis. It had to be Marius and Cosette. How can you call Marius a jerk? Look- he is a good and kind person. Eponine saw him that way, and that was the reason she fell in love with him. She needed him in her life because the rest of her world was filled with darkness. Marius was her only light- and the only good thing. She had to make sure he stayed a part of it.

Marius knew she lived a tough and dark life. Look at these lyrics that Marius said “her life was cold and dark”- so he did know. You can’t call Marius a jerk in “A Little Fall of Rain” or the events leading up to it. While the letter he sent Eponine away with was to Cosette, he did not do it with selfish intentions. I think he was trying to protect Eponine- he did not want her to get hurt or killed from the uprising. I think he asked why she came back when he saw her was because he was worried. Then- it happened- she collapsed in his arms. Marius became aware that Eponine was dying after seeing her gunshot wound. He was devastated, but still made the decision to stay there with her- how can anyone not see the compassion there- he was there to comfort her. He actually gave Eponine the happiest moment of her life-the fact that he was there, and that was all that mattered to her.

“A Little Fall of Rain” does say a lot about Marius- it shows his level of compassion and how much he did care about Eponine. It was at the end when he said “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”. That is how I know he knew that Eponine had a sad and dark life. If he was not a kind and sweet person- where would all of that compassion have come from. He was close friends to Eponine. Little did he know that he would eventually become the only survivor from the barricade.

Let’s look at outside of Eponine. Marius was a revolutionary and wanted to do good. His closest friend in the students was Enjolras. He had a passion for the uprising. While he was struggling between his love for Cosette and his passion for the uprising, he ultimately decided to fight. He had this incredible amount of bravery. Marius did have to fight even after losing one person important to him- it is sad to think during “A Little Fall of Rain” that he soon will lose the rest of his friends.

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables- Joshua Grosso (Marius)
Marius

Yes, people don’t like Marius with Cosette. Marius’ relationship with Cosette helps bring out hope into this tragedy: at the end, all they have left is each other. It had to be Cosette since her life improved (Eponine and Cosette are mirrors of each other) and she does represent hope and light. While it appears that all Marius cares about is Cosette, that is far from the truth. He still has the passion for the uprising and still has a good friendship with Eponine. People do not like how he treated Eponine when it comes to Cosette—-but I disagree. While Marius asked Eponine to find Cosette for him, etc, that does not mean he was treating Eponine unfairly. At the barricade with the letter- that was not selfish, but selfless (he was trying to protect her, in my opinion). Marius was unaware that Eponine loved him- he loved Eponine, but as a friend more anything: you have to remember she never told him until her death. She would do anything for Marius, and she did go as far as sacrificing her life for him.

In simple terms, he is an awkward, brave, compassionate, and kind revolutionary.

Unpopular Musical Couples

As musical theatre fans ourselves, we all have unpopular opinions. What does that mean? Well, it has to do with us being in the minority of loving characters, friendships, and couples, etc…… You get the picture. I am going to talk about two of my unpopular musical couple opinions. SPOILERS

Before continuing, they happen to come from two extremely famous musicals- two of the longest running musicals and that are world-wide sensations.

Raoul and Christine

Seriously, why would anyone think that it should be Christine with Phantom? After all, the Phantom is abusive, revengeful, destructive and capable of murder (he literally wanted to kill Raoul if she didn’t choose him)- meaning it would be a very unhealthy relationship. Plus- she never loved Phantom- literally: she was scared of the Phantom.

All I Ask of You- Phantom of the Opera (Raoul and Christine)
Raoul and Christine

Raoul would never hurt Christine. He is this sweet guy and they were childhood sweethearts. Soon, they found each other again in the events of Phantom of the Opera. They are the ones who are in love. Raoul would protect Christine from harm- this is an angelic, beautiful, and healthy relationship.

Marius and Cosette

Their romance in Les Mis helps bring hope into the tragedy. Cosette is supposed to represent hope and light, which is why she needs to fall in love. The unrequited love in Les Mis, which happens to Eponine, is handled better. What Eponine does is help bring Marius and Cosette together and eventually sacrifice her life for Marius. Marius does love both Eponine and Cosette- in different ways: Eponine as a friend and Cosette romantically.

The switch that happens between Eponine and Cosette (Eponine’s life goes from good to bad and Cosette’s life goes from bad to good) always has intrigued me- another reason why it had to be Marius and Cosette. You strongly can see Marius’ love for Eponine during “A Little Fall of Rain”- yes, it is Eponine’s death, but based on the fact that he is devastated does say that he really did value their friendship. He and Eponine were close friends. Look at the beginning of act II: why do you think he sent her away- he was trying to protect Eponine from being hurt or killed- so for those saying, he did not treat Eponine fairly or saying he wasn’t compassionate; need to look again. Why do you think he asked Eponine why she came back-he was worried for her safety- so when she collapsed, he became aware she was shot and that her wound was fatal. He did not leave her to die alone- he stayed to hold and comfort her despite it being hard on him. Yes, this post is dealing with Marius and Cosette- but it still is important to understand Marius’ relationship to Eponine and Eponine’s love for Marius to further understand why I love Marius and Cosette as a couple.

Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) and Marius (Eddie Redmayne)- Les Mis film
Cosette and Marius

Eponine needed the unrequited love- it worked for her storyline- it was a huge reason for her bravery and strength and she needed someone like Marius in her life. One of Marius’ lines was “her life was cold and dark”- see what I mean: he was the light- unfortunately the only good thing. Look- the way her story ended was perfect- the fact she died in Marius’ arms. The couple had to be Marius and Cosette. Would you have wanted the love triangle any other way or would you have loved Eponine at all if things were different?

Marius and Cosette are perfect for each other- Marius would not have survived the barricade if it wasn’t for Eponine and Valjean. Eponine sacrificed her life for him and Valjean carried him away from the barricade after seeing him injured. Cosette may not be as complex as several characters, but she is this innocent, charitable young woman who wants to know of her past. Marius is a lot more complex than he seems: the brave, sweet, compassionate, and awkward revolutionary.

You first strongly feel the love Marius and Cosette have for each other during “A Heart Full of Love”- even though it was obvious when they first bumped into each other that it was love at first sight, but “A Heart Full of Love” is when they truly got to meet each other for the first. Cosette helped Marius recover from his wounds from the barricade- I believe that does show the love Cosette has for Marius. They are usually said they truly have their happily ever left since they are two survivors- however, that is far from the truth. All Cosette and Marius have left is each other- if you actually think about it. Cosette never knew her mother and at the end lost her adopted father. Marius, on the other hand, faced loads of trauma at the barricade: he lost everyone that meant something to him: first Eponine and later Enjolras and the rest of his friends.

Yes, for Marius and Cosette- I basically brought up the entire love triangle- however it all connects as to why I love Marius and Cosette as a couple. You can’t get rid of one tiny detail in the musical or else it turns to shambles- that is one of the brilliant natures of the show.

Death in Musicals-Happiness

Well, there are tragic musicals. That would mean characters do die in some of them. There is one thing that might be a bit surprising, which did surprise me as well. There are actually deaths that have joy in them. That would not make sense. When we think of death- we think of grief and mourning. We do not even think that happiness could happen. Well, there actually is and the only way to understand is to understand the character. Les Mis is where I first saw deaths as memorable. SPOILERS.

First up is Fantine’s death. What we have seen is nothing but tragedy in her storyline. She literally was left alone to care for her daughter, Cosette. She is a struggling single mother, who left her daughter in the hands of the Thenardiers (little does she know the abuse Cosette will face). She did find a job at Valjean’s factory, but was fired. Well, this is when things get uncomfortable- her life has literally shattered: her dreams are broken and she had nothing left to do but become a prostitute (“Lovely Ladies” is the hardest scene to watch). She is suffering a lot, but it is all of an unconditional love for her daughter. She eventually became seriously ill due to living on the streets, but luckily Valjean came to help her. When she was dying, he made a promise to raise Cosette-this gave her peace and comfort for once and a bit of happiness. So you see, you have to understand her love and hope for Cosette to figure this one out.

Come to Me
Come to Me

Second is Eponine’s death. Eponine is another tragic character. She is an unloved, abused, and neglected teenager. She grew up in the criminal world and ended up living in extreme poverty. She was never shown kindness by anyone. She literally only had one good thing in her life-Marius, who also was the only person who showed her kindness. Due to that, she fell in love with him, but unrequitedly. She was more loyal to him then her parents. She would do anything for him no matter the cost, which eventually led her to the barricade. She ended up sacrificing her life for him, which left Marius devastated, but at least he showed her compassion by holding her in his arms and giving her comfort by staying there until her death. The happiness comes from Marius being there. So once again another example.

A Little Fall of Rain from the Les Mis film- Samantha Barks (Eponine) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius)
A Little Fall of Rain

Jean Valjean’s death is another example. He is our main character and is the father of Cosette. After all, he is the one who promised to raise Cosette after Fantine died. Cosette meant a lot to Valjean. Cosette had a better life once Valjean entered (she used to live with Eponine’s parents). After Cosette and Marius married, they ended up going to Valjean as he was dying. So he was able to see Cosette one last time- that is where the happiness comes from.

Finale

So you see, even tough moments can have the positive emotions going on. I never once would have though that even some of the most heartbreaking moments could possibly have happiness in it. It all comes down to understanding who characters are. The tragic musicals, you need to be able to pick up on the positive emotions or else the trap of calling the musical TOO DEPRESSING comes up- that is what I originally called Les Mis. In Les Mis, I had to dig deeper to find what why I felt uplifted at the end because it did not make sense. All of the characters have their tragedies and their hopes- even the most tragic characters have some kind of light going on. Even the survivors have something tragic to deal with. You just have to understand characters to understand what I am talking about.

Another look at Marius

Just like Fiyero from Wicked, Marius is more complex than he seems. In addition, the two of them are the romantic male leads of Wicked and Les Mis. Marius is a revolutionary, who is part of a love triangle- Eponine and Cosette take up the other two thirds. Now I will talk a lot more in detail about him. Marius gets a lot of hate from Les Mis fans for the most absurd of reasons- I do not agree with what a number of others say about him.

Major Spoilers:

Marius, in general, is a kind, sweet, romantic, compassionate, awkward, and brave revolutionary- not the jerk everyone claims that he is (the real jerks of musical theatre are the villains). He is close friends to both Enjolras and Eponine. He is a member of the Friends of the ABC, which Enjolras is leader of. Well- I have heard people say he did not treat Eponine fairly- well, I disagree once again. I believe he was a good friend to her: he was kind, and he was someone that she needed in her life- his kindness moved her to fall in love with him: she was never shown kindness growing up. While other people in Eponine’s life were cruel towards her, at least she had Marius even though he only loved her as a friend. He was in love with Cosette- their love brought a lot of hope into Les Mis- they were meant for each other. Yes, he asked Eponine to find Cosette for him, but he never treated her unfairly: even Eponine would say that. He might have been oblivious to Eponine’s love for him- but that does not mean he should have fallen in love with her. The love he had for Eponine was as a friend more than anything.

Marius was struggling between his love for Cosette and his passion for the uprising. At the same time, he had a political conflict going on with his grandfather. All of this combined does make him more complex than he seems on the surface.

You strongly saw Marius’ bravery and compassion in act II. At the beginning of the uprising, he saw Eponine there. He actually was worried about her and for her safety. That is why he sent her away with that letter to Cosette. He was trying to protect her from getting hurt or worse killed from the uprising. Right when Marius saw that Eponine did actually come back to the barricade- he did ask why she came back- that was because he was worried. It was a few moments later when Eponine collapsed in his arms (a few scenes back, she sacrificed herself for him). This totally devastated him once he saw she was shot and noticing how severe it was- he knew he was going to lose her. You realized that she did mean something to him. In this scene- Marius could have left her to die alone- but he didn’t. He stayed there to hold her and comfort her- that is compassion (how can some people not see that). Marius knew she lived a tough life- after she died, he said “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”. Marius was Eponine’s light in her life.

Even after losing Eponine, he still had to fight- so his bravery comes from being a revolutionary. What happens to Marius at the barricades is quite traumatic for him- first he lost Eponine and later Enjolras and the rest of his friends. He is the only survivor- he was only able to come out alive due to Eponine and Jean Valjean- it was Jean Valjean, who ultimately saved his life after being severely injured. Survivor’s guilt happened to him while still being happy with Cosette- those two do not deserve to be hated at all. Cosette took care of Marius while he was recovering from his wounds at the barricades-that does show her love for him. It might seem as if Marius and Cosette have their happily ever after, but they still have their tragedies. Marius only has Cosette at the end- Cosette suffered as a child and lost her adopted father. These two have to be together especially because Cosette represents hope and light- Les Mis is so carefully planned out that if you get rid of one tiny thing, the entire story falls apart.

Of all the survivors in Les Mis, Marius is my favorite character.

Not Expecting Someone to Enter your Life

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post. Yes, it will be connected to another Les Mis character. This time instead of Jean Valjean, our protagonist, it will be Eponine, who is one of the lead characters.

I do not think Eponine was expecting someone like Marius to enter her life. Think about it: she was raised by unloving, abusive, neglectful, and criminal parents. She had a better life as a child- than after Jean Valjean rescued Cosette, her life started to become even worse. Her parents did not care about her or love her. They were only being cruel and abusive towards her and using her for their advantage. She was raised as a thief and criminal- being watchdog for the law. She was not expecting anyone to show kindness or compassion towards her.

MAJOR SPOILERS:

Than Marius entered her life. He ended up showing her kindness. She had never come across someone like him before. He was not treating her poorly. The kindness he was showing her led her to fall in love with him. Yes, the love was unrequited. However, they became close friends. He was the only light and goodness in her life. He was the only good thing in her life. Even when he fell in love with Cosette, he still was an important part of Eponine’s life. The love she had for Marius was deep and strong- Eponine would do anything for Marius. You realize just how strong it was during “On My Own”. She was the reason why Marius and Cosette got together, why her father was not able to rob Valjean’s house, and she would go as far as sacrificing her life for him at the barricade. Literally, at the barricade, Eponine gave her life for Marius.

Marius was devastated when he found that Eponine was dying. However, he did not leave her side. This does show just how compassionate Marius is. This was actually Eponine’s happiest moment of her life: the fact that she ended up dying in Marius’ arms. You have to understand Eponine to fully understand the bittersweet nature of “A Little Fall of Rain”. So Marius is quite important to Eponine’s life.

A New Revolution- 6th

On November 3rd, I saw Les Mis at Ovens Auditorium during the US Tour. As so many know, I am a massive fan of the musical. This cast will consist of some of the actors I saw back when the tour first was launched- only five of the nine actors from last time were part of this particular cast.

Cast:

Jean Valjean: Andrew Maughan (Understudy)

Javert: Josh Davis

Fantine: Mary Kate Moore

Cosette: Jillian Butler

Marius: Joshua Grosso

Eponine: Paige Smallwood

Enjolras: Matt Shingledecker

Monsieur Thenardier: Jimmy Smagula

Madame Thenardier: Allison Guinn

Young Cosette: Mackenzie Mercer

Gavroche: Robbie Crandall

Seats:

The best seats, at Ovens, in my opinion are in the Mezzanine. I got to sit in the Mezzanine. I loved those seats- I got to see everything and hear everything. They were also were part of the center.

Staging:

As this is the new production, I still love it. I love how it adds a little bit more color by using the paintings as the backdrop- those also add a bit more Victor Hugo into the set. I loved how “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” was staged- that was one of my favorite parts of the new production. The new staging really shows the vastness of Paris. My only disappointment though was that when time changed- there was no year on the backdrop- that does help explain things.

Portrayals:

Jean Valjean- I was hoping to get Nick Cartell (a standout from 2017), but ended up with an understudy. Because he was an understudy, I knew I had to respect and appreciate his Valjean. In most cases, that wouldn’t be the case. Usually, when I see Les Mis, my tears start at “I Dreamed a Dream”- but when I saw it, guess what happened- I started crying during “What have I Done”. I started to become an emotional wreck sooner than I expected. So, Valjean’s transformation started to show- I was wondering how would be tackle “Bring Him Home”, the song many Valjean’s look forward to singing the most. I loved his version of “Bring Him Home”. So, Andrew defiantly was able to bring out Valjean’s transformation.

Javert- so, Josh Davis was an actor that stayed with the tour in 2017 and was part of my cast yesterday. I was wondering if he would be better yesterday. I always struggle with Javert. It is hard to find common ground or feel sympathy. I think Josh was a little bit stronger this time around. He defiantly mastered Javert’s voice like last time, and the reason why I said he improved was because I think he had a much stronger “Stars”.

Fantine- I wanted Mary Kate Moore as Fantine. Back in 2017, she was part of my ensemble, and then in 2018, she become Fantine after being the understudy. It is hard to watch any Fantine on stage. Just like I expected- “I Dreamed a Dream” reduced me to tears. Her Fantine was amazing.

Cosette- Jillian Butler was part of my 2017 cast. She has this beautiful soprano voice. She somehow can connect to a charming and awkward Marius. It actually makes those two a more adorable and better couple. I strongly love Jillian and Joshua together as Marius and Cosette.

Marius- I am glad that I saw Joshua Grosso again. In 2017, he was one of my standouts. So seeing him again was such a delight. He was still a charming and awkward Marius- one example was during “A Heart Full of Love”- he literally treated falling in love with Cosette like he had no idea what to do. Once again, during “A Little Fall of Rain”, he focused more on comforting Eponine less than the heartbreak he was feeling. People might think he should show the heartbreak more, but do not forget in that scene, Marius is also supposed to show comfort and compassion to Eponine as well. At the end, the reaction was a bit different- that was because he was interacting with a different Eponine. I did not even know if he was going to end the song- that did tell me was heartbroken over her death. So, I saw all of the same things I loved about Joshua’s Marius in the first place.

Paige Smallwood- While Jillian and Joshua were still Marius and Cosette, I had a different Eponine. I had no idea how just one actress could impact the love triangle. She could affect it in a minor or major way only because I already saw the other two back in 2017. “On My Own”- that song actually made me cry this time around. “A Little Fall of Rain”- so believable and I could easily tell she was getting weaker and dying and that she was dying after getting shot.

Matt Shingledecker- He was a standout from 2017. It was nice getting to see him this time around. So I had two of my three standouts from last time. He still felt like a passionate leader. It can be hard to describe why I love Matt so much.

Allison Guinn/ Jimmy Smagula- I had seen Allison Guinn both in 2017 and this time around. I had no idea what she would be like with Jimmy. I knew I loved her as Madame Thenardier so it was interesting seeing her with a new Thenardier. Like many Thenardiers, they were hilarious. So Allison does work well with Jimmy.

Young Cosette/Gavroche- The children of Les Mis were Mackenzie Mercer and Robbie Crandall. Playing Young Cosette and Gavroche, they had a challenge to do. To be on stage and to be a child in a show like Les Mis is not easy. They still were incredible in their roles.