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Details on the 1980 Paris production 
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
I was immediately struck with how weird it is that the transaction is done with everyone in the inn as witnesses.

The other thing was that it seems to be really clear that Madame Thenardier is the one in charge in their relationship, and the only other time I've seen that is in the 2012 film. She's the one telling him what to do, and during his beginning solo he's looking uncertainly at her the whole time. I don't know whether that's the actor's interpretation or the blocking, but it is interesting all the same.


Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:01 am
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Tony Winner
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
I finaly got to see this gem... \:D/

Yes, Marie-France Roussel portrays a more dominant Mme Thénardier than the one we are used to see.
From what I remember, her Mme Thénardier was also quite "in charge" in the Paris Revival. (yes, she was in the two productions)

So it's quite difficult to say if that character was Robert Hossein's direction or something she introduced and Hossein accepted.
Knowing Hossein's work, I'd say this comes from him. But we never know...

I liked the fact that the customers are still in the inn while the transaction occurs.

In the novel (probably my favorite chapters : from the moment Cosette goes to the well to the end of the transaction), a lot of things occur, so the christmas night is over when Valjean pays the Thénardiers.
But in the musical, nothing really explains why they are suddenly all gone.

Moreover, listening to the soundboard of the 1980 show, we can understand that the ensemble has a particular role : they are the juges of everybody's acts. They say what's wrong with Fantine's condition and actions with Bamatabois, etc. Like an ancient choir in antique Greece tragedies.
Now that's quite consistent that they are there, silently observing without moving, as if they were not there.
They actualy are not physically there, but they are the eye judging the Thénardier's actions.

I'd say that's brilliant. :clap:


Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:34 am
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
In the current musical, during the Well Scene, we see lots of people carrying lanterns as Cosette and Valjean walk back to the inn. I always thought it was pretty obvious that the inn had closed for the night.

Thanks for explaining that the ensemble are acting as a Greek chorus. I've only listened to the soundboard a couple of times so didn't pick up on that. It makes a lot more sense than them being physically there for something which is quite legally dubious and for which you really wouldn't want any witnesses.


Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:34 am
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Tony Winner
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Fiwen9430 wrote:
In the current musical, during the Well Scene, we see lots of people carrying lanterns as Cosette and Valjean walk back to the inn. I always thought it was pretty obvious that the inn had closed for the night.

I liked that in the 25th anniversary production...

Fiwen9430 wrote:
Thanks for explaining that the ensemble are acting as a Greek chorus. I've only listened to the soundboard a couple of times so didn't pick up on that. It makes a lot more sense than them being physically there for something which is quite legally dubious and for which you really wouldn't want any witnesses.


In fact, the ensemble is who they are supposed to be : workers, prostitutes, poor people, revolutionaries, etc. But in many of their interventions, they are giving some moral thoughts, judgments, etc.
Few examples :

La journée est fini (At the End of the Day)
Quote:
"La Fantine est fille-mère
Mais malheur à celle qui trop tôt gaspille
La vertu, seule fortune des pauvres filles
Tant pis, tant pis pour elle"

Rough translation :
Quote:
Fantine is an unmarried mother
but woe to the one that wastes too early
her vertue, poor girl's only wealth
Too bad, too bad for her !


Runaway cart :
Quote:
En arrière Monsieur le Maire
Sa pauvre vie ne vaut pas la vôtre
Nul ne le regrettera sur cette Terre

rough translation
Quote:
Back off, mister Mayor
His poor life is not worth yours
No one will regret him on this Earth


but opposite (same tune) after Fantine's death :
Quote:
En arrière Monsieur le Maire
Si tu crois qu'on va te laisser t'enfuir
Alors ça mon vieux, tu peux toujours courir !

rough translation
Quote:
Back off, mister Mayor
If you think we'll let you run away
Oh boy, you've got a hope!


Almost all the ensemble in "Donnez donnez" (the beggars) : they're explaining how society is cruel to those who have nothing.

That's why I see the fact they are there, without moving an inch, that they are in fact not there, but the popular moral and justice is watching... as a Greek Chorus


Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:33 am
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Such interesting stuff... :D

As dead-wrong as the purely album-based claim is that the original French version of the show was just a montage of scenes and only the English version turned it into a fluid drama, it is clear that the French version was a more stylized piece of theatre, and that one of the English version's main changes was to make it more "realistic." Changing the Greek-style chorus into conceivably real crowds of people, getting rid of the symbolic chains that all the "misérables" wore, etc.

About the Mme. T characterization... so unlike the Brick, where she's the underling in their marriage... I don't know if making her the dominant one is more feminist-friendly, or less, considering who they are!


Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:19 am
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
It is my impression that the fandom's the only one who keeps up the memories about the true origin of Les Mis-not even the creators seem to acknowledge the first production. It didn't start in 1985 and there was more than just a concept album. *sigh*

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Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:25 am
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Tony Winner
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Vanessa20 wrote:
As dead-wrong as the purely album-based claim is that the original French version of the show was just a montage of scenes and only the English version turned it into a fluid drama, it is clear that the French version was a more stylized piece of theatre, and that one of the English version's main changes was to make it more "realistic."

Yes, definitively...
I really don't know where this legend comes from ! :-k

Vanessa20 wrote:
Changing the Greek-style chorus into conceivably real crowds of people, getting rid of the symbolic chains that all the "misérables" wore, etc.

In fact, from what I feel (with the few elements we have) I think the chorus was both : a real crowd AND a "Greek Chorus" giving judgments about the character's actions.
They ARE the society.

I like it, because it shows that at the time, and nowadays, one crowd and popular judgments can be the source of one's misery... or the origin of their redemption.

Vanessa20 wrote:
About the Mme. T characterization... so unlike the Brick, where she's the underling in their marriage... I don't know if making her the dominant one is more feminist-friendly, or less, considering who they are!

In the book, and particularly in the young Cosette scenes, she is the "loud" one (with Cosette and with the customers) and her husband looks more discreet, more gentle (but in fact as cruel)

Auf die Barrikaden wrote:
It is my impression that the fandom's the only one who keeps up the memories about the true origin of Les Mis-not even the creators seem to acknowledge the first production. It didn't start in 1985 and there was more than just a concept album. *sigh*

And that's a shame... I don't quite understand why even Boublil and Schönberg seem to lessen the importance of that production, turning the huge sophisticated arena show draging audiences to one show among many others.

As if they felt that Robert Hossein "stole" their baby, which may be absolutely right...


Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:50 pm
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Gargamel wrote:
Vanessa20 wrote:
About the Mme. T characterization... so unlike the Brick, where she's the underling in their marriage... I don't know if making her the dominant one is more feminist-friendly, or less, considering who they are!

In the book, and particularly in the young Cosette scenes, she is the "loud" one (with Cosette and with the customers) and her husband looks more discreet, more gentle (but in fact as cruel)

She may be the loud one, but it's made pretty clear that she is subservient to her husband in the book. In this production she is very different.


Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:39 am
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Tony Winner
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Fiwen9430 wrote:
She may be the loud one, but it's made pretty clear that she is subservient to her husband in the book. In this production she is very different.


True.
But showing that in such a very short time, that's quite difficult.
If she is quite different and more submissive in the Paris section, that would be an interesting choice !


Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:07 am
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Couple more pictures

Full cast: Image

From a press clipping which I own.

Valjean and Cosette: Image

Cosette: Image

Release of the recorded show is my biggest wish for the 30th anniversary next year. Well apart from a director's cut of the film.

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Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:08 pm
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
I just got the soundboard of the show a few weeks ago, and it's amazing! I always thought the show was the recording, just staged. Those are some cool pics Auf Die Barrikaden! I like the one of the full cast the best! ;)

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Tue Dec 30, 2014 1:03 pm
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Tony Winner
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Many thanks for those pictures !

I too dream about that video recording of the whole show... ](*,)


Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:06 am
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