BWW Interviews: Part Two of Our Interview Series with the Cast and Crew of McCallum's LES MISERABLES
BroadwayWorld is thrilled to share with you the final installment of our two part interview series featuring the cast and crew of Les Miserables which opens at McCallum Fine Arts Academy tomorrow, Thursday, February 27th.
Epic, grand, and uplifting, Les Miserables engages the emotions of audience members worldwide. Its sung through opera style gives it appeal to exceptional singers, dancers, and production artists. The story line takes place in 19th century France. Jean Valjean is released from 19 years of unjust imprisonment only to find that mistrust and judgment are all he has waiting for him. In hopes of starting a new life, he breaks parole, thus initiating a life-long struggle with Inspector Javert, who refuses to believe a prisoner such as Valjean could change into a good man. During the Paris student uprising of 1832, Javert must confront his personal belief system when it is Valjean who surprises him by sparing his life and saving the life of his adopted daughter's love. His world view shattered, Javert takes his own life and finally leaves Valjean to make peace in his own life. Les Miserables is a powerful affirmation of the human spirit and that is what makes it a masterpiece.
Les Miserables, produced by McCallum Fine Arts Academy, plays McCallum High School at 5600 Sunshine Drive, Austin 78756 starting Thursday, February 27th thru Sunday, March 2nd. Performances are Thursday thru Saturday at 7pm with matinee performances on Saturday March 1st and Sunday March 2nd at 2pm. Tickets are $6 for students, $10 for seniors, and $15 for adults. For tickets and information, please visit http://www.mactheatre.com/
Today, we bring you our interview with co-costume designer Sara Walls and lighting designer Jacob Stahl.
BWW: There are few shows that are as well-known or as well-loved as Les Miserables. What was your reaction when you found out that McCallum decided to produce the show this season?
SW: I was very excited, but also somewhat intimidated by the thought of the project. I had made plans to apply for costume designer, but doing the show by myself was daunting, I was nervous to say the least. Thankfully, Mr. Denning decided to pair Dominoe Jones and me together again to take on the project, rather than choosing between us.
JS: I was thrilled to hear that McCallum would be doing Les Miserables for a few reasons: I knew that the show was a beast to tackle due to its grandeur and I was happy to attempt the challenge, additionally I knew that the show is indeed very well known, and so people-the Austin community especially-would have high expectations and I was excited for McCallum to rise to the task!
BWW: Tell me about your job on the show?
SW: As a Costume Designer, Dominoe and I come up with the initial look for each character in the show. We both create sketches, and get them approved. Once that is done and we have a vision of what we need we can work with our crew to make it happen. Usually we start with our inventory, but we buy, rent or make the majority. The exciting part of this project is seeing the final product next to the designs, some characters stayed the way we initially saw them, like Javert, but a lot of them ended up being very different, for instance the Thenardiers. It mainly has to do with the logistics of materializing what we want, which is, honestly, a game of chance.
JS: I'm the lighting designer for Les Miserables. Lighting design often goes unnoticed by the audience unless it's being specifically analyzed, and my goal for the show was to make the audience have at least one moment of "Wow I can't believe the lights!" Lighting design is something I plan to pursue in college and as a career.
BWW: What's your favorite part about being a designer?
SW: I love my position as a Costume Designer, I want to continue studying it throughout my career in theatre. I enjoy clothes and fashion, as well as connecting with the actors and making their character come to life on the stage. What a person wears says a lot about who they are, fictional or not, and it takes a serious attention to detail and a passion for the job. When designing, a person should really try to understand the character they are dressing to have a successful show. My favorite part? I love the creative outlet designing gives me, I don't know of any other high school in Austin that allows students to take on more of a professional role. This not only gives me experience but is wholly enriching. I also really enjoy bonding with the actors in the dressing rooms. Other departments like Lighting or Sound or Stage Management don't spend as much time with the actors off the stage as my crew and I do, from fittings early on to opening night. I get to meet new faces and spend time with old ones.