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Javert's suicide always looks kind of silly 
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Post Javert's suicide always looks kind of silly
I'm playing Javert. The director and I have been discussing how to make the suicide scene work without looking silly or cheesy or what have you. I've seen it done several ways and checked out all the online videos and such, and Javert's suicide always looks a little bit silly, even the Broadway versions I've seen. That is not the tone we want to go for.

Has anyone seen it done in a clever, convincing way, especially other than:

-The lights go out or the lights move away from Javert

-Javert pretends to fall while standing in place, optional ridiculous swirling lights.

-Javert is flown around on wires a la Peter Pan and comically waves his arms and legs.

To me, it's really more about the step off and the initial plunge than showing the actual fall, but we're trying to figure out a way to do it well and have the proper impact.


Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:24 pm
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Tony Winner
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Post Re: Javert's suicide always looks kind of silly
Instead of looking what's been done for Javert's suicide, maybe you should have a look on what was done with Tosca's suicide...

http://youtu.be/dJ2evSw9jRA?t=21m31s
http://youtu.be/ePf-oaAlZwI?t=7m12s
http://youtu.be/C90KvIxotz8?t=2m55s

I really like the first one : Small production, but quite effective. The attitude of the singer is crucial to make it belivable.
ther's even the "giant" black stairs like in the original Paris 1980 production of Les Misérables !

But be careful that the rebond on the matress is not visible... or it will look like the river is frozen ! :lol:
http://youtu.be/-VY0D5tvl5U?t=14m10s


Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:24 am
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Broadway Legend
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Post Re: Javert's suicide always looks kind of silly
The current Met production of Tosca has a very high parapet at the side of the stage that Tosca sings her final words not on, but below. Then she runs to the top and jumps off, not out of sight, but starting to fall in full view of the audience when the stage abruptly goes dark. She's obviously held safely by a harness, but the split second that she jumps is really startling: it really looks like she's about to fall many feet into a huge void right in front of us.

Maybe Javert's suicide could be staged similarly. Maybe the bridge could be at the top of a flight of stairs at the side of the stage, and instead of singing his soliloquy on it, Javert could sing it at "water level" below it, then race up the stairs after "...oooonnnn!" during the orchestral "Stars" reprise and hurl himself off, with the stage abruptly going dark the moment he does, on the orchestra's last dissonant note.


Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:56 pm
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Tony Winner
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Post Re: Javert's suicide always looks kind of silly
I haven't seen that production.

But even if the effect seem very powerful and spectacular, I am not sure it fits Javert.
When Tosca jumps, she is in an access of madness. This is almost not a deliberate act.

Javert is another story. He knows why jumps in the water. This is the anly way for him. That's why I can't imagine him running before jumping, as if the idea just popped in his mind.
To me, he has to do it with calm an determination.

In the 1rst video (the very small production with the black stairs) she crosses her arms on her chest as if she was about to receive a benediction. This is more Javert (at least in the musical). I could also imagine him with the arms extended like a cross, like a crucifiction.
I also like the one whith the backdrop that changes and we see her as a shadow. But this may be more difficult to do on a small production.

Let us know what will be done !


Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:24 am
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Young Hoofer
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Post Re: Javert's suicide always looks kind of silly
I too would love to know how you ended up doing it. My husband is wanting to audition for the part of Javert, and we have to sing a song from the show. He knows EVERYONE is going to be doing Stars, so he was thinking about doing the suicide scene to show his acting ability. (Maybe from "Damned if I'll live in the debt of a thief") I'm assuming he'll get cut off before the very end, but we were trying to brainstorm ways to make the "there is no way to go ooooonnnn!" actually work in an audition without seeming overly funny or cheesy, just in case they let him go on. Still haven't quite figured that out yet.

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Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:31 pm
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