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Les Miserables by Tim Kelly
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Les Miserables

by Tim Kelly

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This version of "Les Misérables" is a play in two acts based on the famous novel by Victor Hugo. This adaptation covers the main plot of the novel, with the resulting performance lasting under two hours. When I read about this book, I was doubtful that it would manage to do a good job of conveying the main events of the original story while developing the characters enough in such a short format (the play itself is 63 pages, not counting explanations about it and production notes). It does transform some of the situations for the sake of brevity, but it keeps true to the spirit of the novel. I think this play adaptation does succeed quite effectively in bringing the novel to life as well as some of its many characters. This play, even if it is succinct, still covers many of the main episodes of the novel, and it all fits together nicely, which makes it easy to follow the storyline, even for someone who would have no idea what the original book is about. Through the dialogues between the characters and their actions, the reader/spectator starts to form a fairly good idea of their different personalities, from Jean Valjean/Monsieur Madeleine, the redeemed ex-convict turned benefactor to the abject Thénardier couple, from the tragic Fantine, epitome of abnegation and the impassioned Marius to the "law and order" obsessed Inspector Javert.

This play could easily be read and performed in high school. Excerpts of the novel "Les Misérables" could be read in an English class while this play is being read in a theatre class, for example. The production needs of this play are very simple (chairs, tables and a bench are basically all that is needed on the stage), and the indications are specific enough to make this an easy play to set up in high school. Also, I think that the action and powerful emotions of the play will appeal to high schoolers. Grades 10-12. ( )
  alebarbu | Dec 4, 2010 |
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The story Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who rises against all odds from galley slave to mayor and Javert, the fanatical police inspector, who dedicates his life to recapturing Valjean.

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