THE MEDIARTRIX adapted the celebrated classic Les Miserables, last Feb. 2 to 3 at the Albertus Magnus Auditorium.

The play, known for its intertwining characters and plots, is about an ex-convict named Jean Valjean, who lives on the edge trying to feed his family. Released after 19 years of being imprisoned, but with nowhere to go, Valjean finds refuge with Bishop Myriel, to whom he promises to live an honest life. Meeting with a terminally ill worker-turned-prostitute named Fantine, Valjean promises to take care of her daughter, Cosette. And as they leave for Paris, they meet a young man named Marius, who eventually falls in love with Cosette. The climactic end features Valjean squaring off with Inspector Javert, who had been in pursuit of Valjean, to settle their years of confrontation.

Based from the acclaimed Victor Hugo novel, the Mediartrix exerted efforts to remain faithful to the original Broadway classic, with regard to the soundtracks utilized. However, the voice of the performers was unclear in choric songs in various scenes, mostly because the lack of audio equipment.

Mediartrix gave justice to their performance with well executed solo performances and an ably-coordinated choreography. In one scene, the dying Fantine sang a solo of the widely covered song “On my Own,” with only a few objects onstage to distract the audience’s attention, creating a more dramatic milieu to the melancholic episode.

But due to stage constraints, the play used only one backdrop for the entire play, frequently moving different objects on and off the stage to suggest the change in setting. The backdrop failed to indicate the significant scene changes involving the prison and the cathedral. The effective lighting, however, masked this flaw. Further, the props and costumes that the musical utilized were impressive as well as appropriate, such as the shackles used in the first act.

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Haunting scribbles

The musical’s story, however, was hard to follow since the audience was constantly baffled about the identity of the characters on stage. In addition, the timeline was not clearly portrayed in the division of the acts, such as the years between Valjean’s freedom from captivity, and his encounter with Fantine.

Although the Mediartrix’s adaptation of Les Miserables, proved to be a worthwhile effort, more improvement could still be made. Brian P. Sales

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