Do you hear the people sing?

Though a convict and an officer of the law may be at odds with each other most of the time, they are linked by Geoffrey Rock ’09 in the upper school production of “Les Misérables.”  Rock first appears on stage as a convict and proceeds to transform into four other roles: a pimp, a drunken reveler, a policeman and Combeferre, one of the student revolutionaries.  This vast range of roles allows Rock to experiment with different on-stage personalities and be inventive with each character he plays.

“Playing the pimp is about exaggerating the fact that this guy’s a real sleaze ball, using sneers, flowery hand gestures etc. Playing Combeferre is entirely different,” said Rock.  “Playing him requires a much more fiery, but simple persona. He’s a character with a lot of anger, which can be very interesting to play in contrast to a pimp.”

Just as in most productions of “Les Misérables,” the chorus members play a variety of roles.  This is because the play consists of many smaller yet crucial characters.  A typical chorus role consists of a prostitute, a beggar and a washerwoman.  If each individual were to play a single role, the production would call for an overwhelmingly large cast with little involvement of most of the performers. 

Jonathan Wagmeister ’09 plays a series of six characters in the span of 10 scenes before ultimately settling into his role as Legles, another student rebel. 

“It is sometimes tough to switch into opposite personalities so quickly,” said Wagmeister.  Not only must he manage persona shifts, Wagmeister is also faced with the challenge of changing his costume multiple times between scenes.

In this play consisting solely of music, solo moments are spread out among chorus members and they create an ensemble in conjunction with the principal characters.

Performing Arts teacher Ted Walch, the musical’s co-director along with Michelle Spears, described the role changing spectacle to be one of the many highlights of the show.

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