Les Miserables Masterclass - 27 - 30th October 1999

The phrase which came up again and again on the course was 'less is more' and if you asked me face to face what I thought of the course my speechlessness should speak, no shout, volumes at the brilliance of this course. But of course this would not explain what went on and what the course was about and why I think it was brilliant

Les Miserables is my favourite show and has been for over 10 years and to have the opportunity to work on three scenes from the show and then perform them on the Palace Theatre stage was a dream come true. The group consisted of @ 60 people aged from 16 - 60, all from different backgrounds and dramatics experience but we were all there becuase we wanted to experience at first hand working with professionals on a show which meant so much to the majority of the group. A few people didn't know the show well or hadn't seen it before and I personally felt that having a solid background knowledge of the show enabled you to get more out of the course. Under the direction of Peter Hepplethwaite (ex UK Tour Thenardier and Assistant Director) and Martin Lowe (ex Les Miz MD and current Mamma Mia MD) we had three days to learn 'At the End of the Day, Lovely Ladies and One Day More'.

It wasn't just learning the scenes but it was learning the art of characterisation from within, understanding who you were playing, where they came from, their story, knowing and understanding the true meaning of the words, so familiar to us all already, you were singing and portraying the poor, the whores and those on the brink of a huge change in their lives. We had to learn to place ourselves in these characters positions, try to understand how they lived and their feelings. The course culminated in a performance of the three scenes with full lighting effects and the revolve, I do admire the cast for the way they make it look so easy to get on and off the revolve !!. One Day More always sends shivers down my spine when I see it performed so you can only imagine how thrilling it was to actually perform the song on the stage.

The current understudy Valjean (Tim Godwin) and Understudy Eponine (Jane Horn) came and performed for the class, Valjean's Solioquy and On My Own. We were shown how the director worked with them to play the scenes in different ways and then there was a question and answer session with them.

I cannot recommend this masterclass enough. I feel I have learned so much in the three days. Peter and Martin managed to bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, enthusiasm to the course and even if a little of that knowledge and experience is filtered back into the amateur groups around the country then the amateur scene will be truly benefiting from it.

Be prepared to work hard,to be shouted out, to be swore at, to be encouraged, to learn, to develop your own skills and understanding and most importantly to have a brillant time

Roll on the advanced class next year, I can't wait : )

If you're interested contact Simon Warwick (0171 580 6793) or swarwick@groupline.com

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