There are things in the life that I would rather not sacrifice, and I guess I just figured out what a few of those things are.
Let me just say that my Senior year in High School has proven to be much more emotional than I thought it would be. Like most people out there, I’ve been so excited to start a new chapter in my life. It seems like so many doors have been opened to me and all of the sudden this new world is coming into view where I can pursue my dream of music! So, I’ve been counting down the days until graduation… Secretly of course, because Lord knows I’ve heard my fare share of people respond to my sense of urgency by saying “You’re gunna miss this!” and “Ohhh I was just like you when I was your age, now I’d do anything to be young again!” Well, lets just say I’m starting to see their point of view.
This year my high school decided to do Les Miserables for our annual musical. To say I was excited would be a criminal understatement, especially since I got the part I wanted: Fantine! I have poured so many hours into researching her character, reading the book and practicing the music. Now that we’re done with our performances, I feel as though I need to get some kind of closure. Les Miserables has played such a key role in my musical development and, at the risk of sounding over the top, it has changed my perspective on the world.
Some things you should know if you’re planning on being in the cast of Les Mis:
1) BUY KNEE PADS
2) Wear waterproof mascara: (this goes for guys and girls, considering you’ll all be wearing heinous amounts of stage makeup!) there will be tears.
3) Consider going on vocal rest for select days.
… At least that’s the way I see it, not that I’m really all that experienced in theater.
Ever since I started listening to the sound track of Les Mis, I’ve been enthralled with Fantine. She is such an incredible depiction of sacrificial love, strength and femininity. Needless to say, I feel honored to have been cast as Fantine. I started reading the book (written by Victor Hugo) before we had even decided to do it as a musical and if you’ve ever taken a look at it, you’ll understand why it took me months to read. It was worth every minute, and it certainly helped me relate to Fantine on a deeper level. However, it taught me a lesson on redemption and grace and a lot about society. I was surprised to realize that a few of the concepts that Victor Hugo discusses in his book were concepts we were reading about in my sociology class! I felt incredibly nerdy - in the best way possible.
Life is not black and white. It is more gray than many people are comfortable with admitting to themselves. I’ve never read a piece of literature that exposed that truth more clearly than Les Miserables.
I became extremely attached to Fantine the more I read about her and the more I acted her part. When I got the part, I felt a strong desire to do it justice because while her story makes for a good plot, it is also painfully true for many women around the world. Long story short, Fantine gives away everything she has - including her dignity - to provide for her daughter. Every night before the show, I’d pray that God would help me to give a voice to women around the world who have gone through/go through the same thing.
Now that the show is over, I’m realizing that I’m going to miss so many things about the production. Everyone in the cast has become more like a family than anything else I’ve been a part of, and while we all complained about being at the school until 10:00 pm, I am going to miss being with people who are willing to dive deep into art - or as I call them: “People who get it.”
In a way, I think Fantine is always going to be a part of me. At least I hope she will be. These past few months have been amazing, and even though I know it’s hard for a bunch of high school students to pull something like this off, I feel so proud to have been a part of it all. It has certainly left a permanent imprint on my life and I feel so blessed for that.