GCAC Presents: Changing the world one Miserable light bulb at a time
Les Misérables is an epic tale that has been a part of literary history since 1862, when Victor Hugo’s greatest novel was published. Admirers around the world know the theatrical version for its grand staging, booming voices and heart wrenching story of a man surviving against all odds.
Contrary to popular belief, Les Misérables is not based upon the events of The French Revolution, but instead upon those of The June Rebellion of 1832. During this time, the economy was crumbling, food was scarce, the cost of living was skyrocketing, and the cholera outbreak was devastating the country’s workforce.
The rebellion started on June 5th and lasted only one day. It was a cry for social change, a statement of solidarity amongst the lower classes, and a call to arms for those still able to fight against government oppression. Approximately 800 revolutionaries were killed or injured. Victor Hugo’s decision to base Les Misérables around this battle saved the event from dissolving into historical obscurity.
Choosing to stage Boublil and Shonberg’s musical is a commitment worthy of a small army, and perhaps the largest army the Otterbein Theatre & Dance Department has ever assembled. More than 100 people including directors, designers, and student cast and crew members have been working to mount the production since August, and all are attacking the material with the gusto of young revolutionaries.
And, in the spirit of social change, Guest Lighting Designer, Josh Allen (Otterbein Class of ’95) has created an innovative, energy efficient design for the production. Josh regularly lectures on sustainability and design, and approached Les Misérables with a “green mind”. Utilizing efficient new LED lighting technologies, the show is designed to consume approximately 2/3 less power than a typical Otterbein musical.
Believe it or not, energy savings does not mean less, but more. Thanks to the generosity of six of the nation’s major lighting companies, more than five semi-trucks full of equipment will be used to light the stage. The production will be a grand statement of positive change for the theatrical lighting industry and we are proud to report that though many of us have experienced a lot of sweat and tears over this production, not a drop of blood was shed.
The Otterbein University Department of Theatre & Dance production of Les Misérables will run October 3-6 and 9-12 in the Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St., Westerville. Ticket information can be found at Otterbein.edu/drama or by phone through the box office, 614-823-1109, Monday through Friday, 10am-4pm.
GCAC Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus – in partnership with the Columbus Arts Marketing Association, a professional development and networking association of arts marketers. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at the arts in Columbus.