On the evening of Sept. 15, the lights dimmed in the Poinsettia Pavilion in Ventura, California and the play the audience came to see began. Everyone’s eyes were turned toward the stage, watching the Performance Theatre for Young Artists (PTYA) production of “Les Misérables” unfold.
“Les Misérables” is set in the French Revolution and it showcases the plight which motivated the revolutionaries to take back their country. This tone was set from the very first scene with a group of men being forced into labor due to defying the government or courts in some way. One of the main characters, Jean Valjean, played by Noah Sletten ‘20 from Oaks Christian School, was the epitome of defiance in the first scene because he showed that he was not just a number and a prisoner, but a person more than anything.
The whole play was very well done, despite some technical problems, which are to be expected in any live production. Sletten, when asked how he thought the play went, said that “this production went pretty smoothly. [There were] very few technical issues and no acting slip-ups.”
All in all the play did go very well. The singing was magnificent and the way the cast worked together was a work of art itself. They were evidently a unified team when it came to changing the set quickly and to harmonizing onstage. When they sang together, it was magical and powerful because it made the point that the revolutionaries would always stand together for what they wanted.
This unity is to be expected when the cast rehearsed for as long as they did. The director, Marta Dewey, admitted that they “rehearsed for about 2 months” and the actor of Marius, Foothill alumnus Jonathan Eloi Lantiegne ‘16, claimed that “they did 3 hour rehearsals Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.”
They rehearsed the amount they did so they would be able to present the messages that “Les Misérables” was meant to represent. Dewey wanted to showcase these messages and the actors definitely delivered in that field.
She believes that “it’s a really amazing show with a lot of different things you can take out of it, you know, different things about people, emotions and standing up for what you believe in.”
In the end, when the audience was walking away, it was obvious that the way the show was set up and how the actors delivered the content of the script impacted everyone and inspired them to reflect on all these topics.
In the finale, viewers could see the passion and dedication all the actors had for this production. They brought their best and seemed to all have fun when performing. Sletten reflected on his journey to this point and said to all actors that “it may be hard but don’t give up, it’s really fun and it’s worth it.”