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A lead in 'Les Miserables'

By Rhys James
July 2003, south east Wales
A digital story from Capture Wales
The trials and tribulations of staging a version of 'Les Miserables' - as seen through the eyes of the lead actor.

"The auditions ended and the chaos of rehearsals began. Still shocked from getting a lead in 'Les Miserables', I was violently flung into the French Revolution. The rehearsals were continuous for 14 weeks - most of that time taken up learning how to sing and act at the same time, whilst trying to look professional.

With two weeks left to spare, we had run the show ONCE!

Catching us unaware, the Mrs Lewis plan attacked. Ageing us by decades, making us wear clothes too big or too small...oh, and the side burns! How could I forget! Attached to my skin with heavy duty glue - the smell of which could knock out a grown man 100 paces away. I still remember the repulsive feel of it now that I've tried to forget for the last two months!

Now what would you do if you wanted to use a cart for props? See if you could fit it through the doors! Well, someone forgot this vital step and guess what? They didn't fit!

PANIC!

The night before first curtain up, a cart was desperately needed. Enter Mr. Bowen. The only man capable of creating a convincing cart with a few pieces of MDF and plywood in less than five hours!

April 1st. Opening night. A hurried frenzy of quick changes, singing, acting, scenery changes and a desperate plea for Mike to remember his lines! Somehow we even managed to look respectable, although backstage confusion reigned supreme.

I staggered off the stage and changed back to the present, amazed I had succeeded in remembering everything in front of 300 people.

Jean Valjean is nothing now. Another story must begin..."

Rhys James

Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Rhys James. I'm 14 years old. I play the clarinet and guitar and I am a member of the school's senior choir.

What's your story about?
My recent lead in 'Les Miserables' and the build up to the first night, the jokes and hardships we all shared in the cast. I decided to tell this story because I felt that everyone should know of the fun that we had and that more people will come to next year's show after they see how wonderful we were.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
I found the end product most rewarding. As all of the hard work came together to produce a professional film.

This was a school workshop run in collaboration with Blast.

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