LeAnne Martin
Christians in the Arts

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Les Miserables

Even though it was my third time, it moved me again as before. Maybe more so. After all, I'm older now, and wiser, I hope, and a mother, too, which has changed how I view just about everything. But I think that if I were to see Les Miserables a dozen times, I would still be moved by this story of grace, forgiveness, redemption, sacrifice, love, courage, compassion, loyalty, and more. I found myself marveling that this classic that deals so obviously with important spiritual questions should be so popular, still bringing in crowds after years of touring the country.

The first two times I saw it, I was in my early 20s. I identified with Cosette's and Eponine's feelings of love for Marius as well as the students' idealism. But yesterday, I ached for Fantine and her motherless child. And Javert seemed so much more human to me--still obsessed with Valjean and the law but truly baffled by Valjean's act of mercy toward him. 

Even more, though, I found myself caught up in Jean Valjean--a sinner given a second chance to make a life for himself beyond his circumstances. To be honest and honorable, even when it cost him dearly. To live the life of a man and not a number. Would I have been so brave and true? I hope so.

This cast had strong, powerful voices that soared with the music one moment, then faded to exquisite harmonies the next. If the words were in another language and I could not understand them, I would still be moved to tears--and cheers. 

Les Miserables has given me much to consider and remember. That's what good theater does. 


Chandler Branch said...

Les Miserables is such a powerful story - particularly the Valjean/Javert relationship.

Vicki said...

Oh wow, I saw Les Miserables recently, too, and was moved to tears (my first time viewing it on the stage, although I remembered the film).

When Javert plunges to his death, it struck me how many refuse grace (salvation) because they can't grasp it or don't think they need it. I still puzzle over Javert's response to mercy. Like you, I ached for Fantine and her child. I marveled at Jean Valjean's commitment to raise Cosette. There are so many stirring metaphors within this story, and I plan to see Les Mis again and again, if possible. I also want to read the book and finish it this time:-)It will remain my favorite. So glad to see your post here today.

swhelche said...

I love Les Miserables! Les Miserables is my favorite book. It is amazing, if not more so than the musical (which is saying something). I have a quote from Victor Hugo from the book on my blog. :) The story is so intricate, so moving, and so deep.

P.S. I really appreciate your blog, especially the part about Nigel Goodwin, it's encouraging for me to read about someone else supporting the fact that it's ok to be a Christian and an artist. :)

LeAnne Benfield Martin said...

Hi. Thanks for your comment. Yes, it's okay to be a Christian and an artist! In fact, it's wonderful because you are using the gifts God gave you. And you are not alone.

Do you know about Christians in the Visual Arts/CIVA (www.civa.org)? Even if this is not the right time for you to join, just knowing there are others like you can be an encouragement.

Keep working, keep growing in your faith and your gift. And pursue excellence. (That's good advice for all of us!)

Thanks for reading.



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