do you hear the people sing?


singing the song of angry men


it is the music of a people


who will not be slaves again


will you give all you can give?


so that our banner may advance?


some will fall


and some will live


will you stand up and take your chance?


will you join in our crusade?


who will be strong 


and stand with me?


beyond the barricade


is there a world you long to see?


then join in the fight


that will give you the right to be free!



People always make Grantaire’s drunk texts almost unintelligible but personally I think he would be pretty accurate and the only way you’d be able to tell he’s drunk is that he never uses apostrophes and he sends like five paragraphs that have basically nothing to do with what you last said


..also this is something that has been bothering me since someone pointed out way back in Brick!club that Valjean checks his hair in a doctor’s mirror

which would would have also been used for general checking to see if a patient was alive or dead- hold it up to their mouth, see of it fogged up—

and of course Joly regularly checks his tongue in a mirror to check his health, which is probably a doctor’s mirror, it’s one of his little quirks

and it’s also the last thing he’s mentioned to be doing before he dies

checking his tongue in a mirror

like doctors then did




Aw that’s so neat though?  I mean, that’s part of what OFPD is supposed to do, elevate/reveal the better aspects of this character who is being very easy to dismiss through most of his page time, and I think it’s one of the best Redemption Moments I’ve seen, especially given that the character in question is not exactly a villain? And I think it can be harder to drum up Sympathy for the Kinda Aggravating than sympathy for the actual devil, at least in fiction—I’ve seen some interesting posts about how most people don’t personally KNOW Evil Villains, but we know That Aggravating Guy at the party, or the Awful Teacher, or whatever, and so dislike of them has a personal quality that can be hard to overcome.

(all said with the understanding that I did kinda like Grantaire on the first reading, but it was Kinda Liked, and then YEAH HELLO GRAND DEATH SCENE, but it was really fandom analysis that helped me appreciate the character more fully! Because those rants are DENSE.)

Good points, especially that Kinda Aggravating vs. Actual Villain thing. Because it is definitely a thing that people actually often hate the Kinda Aggravating characters more than the villains. And yeah, it probably is exactly that we actually know people like that while real villains tend to be rarer. And even when you do run into actually evil people they often aren’t quite like fictional villains anyway. (Though Hugo is pretty good at more realistic evil people… And I’m not counting Javert here. More like the Thénardiers and such.)

And I think that’s exactly what OFPD was meant to be for Grantaire, yeah. 😀 So mission accomplished.

It was mostly fandom that did it for me too, with Grantaire. Didn’t understand half of what was going on with him before that. (Also not being 13 this time around helped. At 13 I was kind of a moralising little brat.)

The staging of the Tampere version of Les Misérables

So, I said ages ago that I’d talk about the staging of the Finnish version of the musical that I saw. And finally I got around to it.

Disclaimer: I’m working from memory, from seeing it once nine months ago. So all of this might be totally wrong. Please correct me if you know better.

I’m almost certain that this staging is not original. If nothing else, it must have been at least partly based on this one:

(That’s the Åbo Svenska Teater version. Which is also Finnish but it’s in Swedish because bilingual country and all that. Åbo, btw, is Swedish for Turku, the former capital of Finland.)

Also the Tampere version probably looked more like that and less like my drawings but I’m going to go with my drawings anyway because I’m too lazy to re-draw them. I couldn’t find any video of the Tampere version, so that’s the closest you get, I think. Unless I find my brochure from that night.

I don’t know if the ÅST version is based on something else, maybe a version from Sweden? Or the Finnish Helsinki version? A version from some other country entirely? I have no idea. But the Tampere version is the one I saw so that’s the one I’m talking about.

Notes on the pictures/graphics:

  • These are the bare bones of the staging, no props, no furniture, no moving parts. Just the stuff that stayed where it was throughout each act. Oh and no details either because I’d get them wrong anyway.
  • The darker the shade of grey, the further back that part of the stage is. So it’s supposed to represent depth. Black is either the background or off stage. And white is either front stage or the auditorium or whatever it’s called. The side where the audience is. English fails me right now, sorry.

The rest should be obvious I think.

Act I


So, as you see, there is a tree in the middle of the stage, surrounded by a mini-revolve (see the red arrow). The mini-revolve was kind of pointless in my opinion and could have been easily left out without changing much but there it is. The tree is used as a pillar or a tree depending on the scene.

The back of the stage is of course a starry sky for reasons you can probably guess. I barely saw it, though, because our seats unfortunately were under the balcony which blocked the upper parts of the stage. I couldn’t see what happened on the upper parts of the bridge or the staircase. Which sucked.

On the left in the background, there’s a building sort of thing with arch-like doors or whatever. I can’t remember the details of the building at all but it lead to the bridge thingy on the right. The bridge thingy starts from centre back, circles the stage from the right and finishes in the front on the right side. Again, I can’t remember any details of this bridge, not even if it had a railing on the inner side. I’m pretty sure it didn’t have one on the outer side but it’s possible I misremember. There may have been steps at the root but I couldn’t be sure so I didn’t draw them. Add them in your mind if you want to.

On the left, right at the front, there is a spiral staircase which I don’t think was used at all before the Paris scenes. At least none of the main characters did.

Most of the action happens in front of the tree and between the bridge and the staircase or the very front of the stage. People also mostly enter from the archways or from the sides of the stage, with a few exceptions. Particularly these two:

Javert almost always either enters or exits by the bridge. The bridge got very much associated with Javert even though other characters also used it occasionally. He also sings Stars there, obviously!

Enjolras mostly enters from above by the staircase. He exits mostly through the archways, though (probably because it just looks better that way).

Marius also enters by the staircase occasionally, first when he enters for the first time with Enjolras in Look Down and then later when he enters the café (after Enjolras had first entered that way at the start of the scene). So basically when he’s following Enjolras. x)

I like the sort of contrast this puts between Enjolras and Javert, kind of? Like both enter from above but from the opposite directions. Symbolism!

Oh and also I drew this because I had the feeling that there was some kind of a little bridge somewhere closer to the centre stage too, so it’s in light blue/turquoise:


It might have been to the other direction, actually, or it might have been more of a continuation of the big bridge, but I can’t remember. There was something like that there though.

Okay, on to Act II:


In act II, they added the barricade (The thing that looks like a fluffy cloud. I’m not drawing all the details. Sue me.) in front of the background building. At the start they also fell the tree to be used in the barricade. This happens during the part of the music where in the London version they put the barricade on stage. I have to say this was the silliest choice in the whole staging, honesty. The music is WAY TOO EPIC for just felling one tree while Les Amis just sit there trying to look cool while watching the tree slooooowly fall. It didn’t work at all. I don’t know what else they could have done… maybe actually show the guys “building” the barricade?

Okay, it’s kind of hard to explain how the barricade worked in this, since it didn’t move and all. I thought it was done pretty cleverly, even if it wasn’t as epic as the massive revolving one.

Basically, the barricade “turned” depending on which side of it the actors were. The front side was both the outer (enemy) side and the inner (friendly) side depending on the scene. It’s really hard to describe how this worked in action but I thought it was done perfectly. Even though you saw that it was always the same side, the actors managed to make it look like the “camera angle” had shifted.

The soldiers mostly hid behind the little bridge and the root of the big bridge and then attacked from there and also died around there. That’s also where Gavroche died, obviously, and where the sewer scene happened.

Oh, btw, the mini-revolve becomes entirely useless by act II. I don’t get why they even bothered adding it to the play.

And here’s another cool part that I really liked about this version:

Javert’s suicide.

Okay, you probably guessed it already: He actually jumped from the big bridge to the backstage. Like actually jumped. It was so simple but so cool. I mean the bridge was there the whole time! And then suddenly you’re like “OH RIGHT IT’S THE BRIDGE, HE’S GOING TO JUMP FROM IT!” I can’t remember when it was that I figured that out. It might have even been during Stars but I’m just not sure.

He also did it with his back first, actually. I’m not sure what to think of that. It was probably so he could keep singing towards the audience and maybe for shock effect? Because it really looked like the actor would hurt himself falling on his back. (Even though obviously there was something to break his fall back there.) Okay so it was less like jumping and more like just letting himself fall backwards over the edge. But still. I thought it was way cooler than any other way I’ve seen/heard it done on stage.

I have a vague impression that they then returned the stage back to the act I setting, taking out the barricade and raising the tree back up during Turning? But not entirely sure.

Okay, finally, I made a little graphic to also illustrate the positions of the characters a bit more:


1: Javert’s typical entrance and exit
2: Enjolras’ typical entrance
3: The students in front of the barricade for the scenes happening in the shelter of the barricade (I drew them all excited!)
4: The students hiding behind the barricade for the fight scenes.
Front stage: dead soldiers and little dead Gavroche
The bridge: Javert jumping
The staircase: Enjolras being Enjolras (you can tell it’s Enjolras because he sparkles)

Sooo, in conclusion:

I really liked this staging. I think it was very clever in how it got around the lack of the big revolve. On the other hand, the mini-revolve was entirely pointless and could have just been left out.

I liked the way they used the stage to build on the characters. There was probably other stuff there too that I didn’t notice!

What was annoying was that the upper parts of the stage weren’t visible from the back, under the balcony. I missed a lot of Enjolras and Javert because of this.

Also, the translation was still trash.

Btw, I also found (while researching a bit) a video of a German speaking version (from Austria?) which also shows their version of the staging pretty well:

I haven’t seen that version but it looks pretty interesting. Though where the hell is the barricade?