Weekend Holds LES MISERABLES and APSU Opera Workshop

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on April 25, 2014

It is no easy task to get me out of the house, for love nor money, come a Sunday — except for two things: Jill Whittinghill’s annual Christmas cantata at Sango United Methodist Church and the annual APSU spring opera.

APSU Opera Workshop’s next production, Ravel’s L’Enfant Et Les Sortileges (The Child and The Sorcerers), is this weekend: Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 3:00pm. Dr. Thomas King is featured, and since he and wife Vicki are retiring soon and will no longer be calling Clarksville home, this may be the final time for fans like me to enjoy one of his stellar performances.

If you have never been introduced to the beauty of opera, caught up in the magic of music, or never had an opportunity to hear and see young, talented artists perform, yet you enjoy enchanting storytelling which is always awe-inspiring and an impressive escape, let me direct you to the George and Sharon Mabry Concert Hall. I have not missed a Sunday matinee in years.

Lisa Conklin-Bishop directs and has her daughter, Kyra Bishop, on board for the design. It is a family affair, as father Rick and grandfather Ralph Conklin are constructing the set. This same team, or rather family, effort will be adding their various expertise to our production of Little Shop of Horrors.

By day, Amber Wallace’s superb set serves as pre-Civil War rural America for A Woman Called Truth. By night, it becomes the Paris of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. The three arches rendered on the theatre’s back wall suggest the arches which flank Victor Hugo’s home in the Place des Vosges section of Paris, which is only blocks away from where the actual barricade stood.

A Woman Called Truth (aside from using the same set) has much in common with Les Miserables. Both central characters are beset with almost insurmountable hurdles, barricades notwithstanding. But the human spirit is always greater than any obstacles placed in its path.

Glowing reviews from The Leaf-Chronicle and ClarksvilleNow assure audiences that their entertainment dollar will be well-spent. And it is.

Victor Hugo wanted everyone to read his book. I did so last summer, all 1400 pages. I felt I should know all I could before I stepped into that world. In reading the Hugo I learned that my role, Thenardier, ends up in the New World as a slave trader. Perhaps, if fiction melded with fact, Thenardier might have crossed paths with Sojourner Truth.

Peter Pan‘s pirate pants are recycled for the students of Les Miserables. The Children of Eden pajamas, after making a second appearance in Miss Saigon, have been dyed and numbered for Jean Valjean and his fellow convicts. Silk brocades salvaged from Hancock’s bargain table, which became Heidi and Clara’s fancy dress-up clothing, are now worn again by Young Eponine. Nothing is ever wasted.

Les Miserables plays tonight (Friday) at 8pm and resumes next Wednesday and Thursday at 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, through May 10.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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