Les Misérables: Cross-cultural wonder

I saw Les Misérables the first time in Singapore when the touring company came through. There were Chinese subtitles of the lyrics projected on screens at the sides of the stage or across the top. I can’t remember which. Three of the cast members came to the school where I was teaching to talk with students about their lives as actors and about touring internationally. Afterwards, for a brief while, I had Les Mis fever. The symptoms being: the songs play over and over and over again in your head; you feel deliciously depressed and uplifted at the same time; and you feel like stopping repression somehow–somewhere–some way.

One of the wonderful things about living overseas is being a part of something that has universal appeal, even if it just means sitting in an audience. Here’s something that tops the feeling I had when I sat in the 12th row of the orchestra to the left of center stage.

For the 10th anniversary celebration of Les Misérables there was a concert at Royal Albert Hall that included 17 different Jean Valjeans from different countries, each singing a few lines of “Do You Hear the People Sing” and “One Day More” in their native language. I found it on YouTube. Watching it gave me a touch of Les Mis fever.