It was a busy weekend for the cast of Les Misérables. Not only did this talented group of individuals make a surprise appearance at the Midsummer Arts Faire with a performance of “One Day More,” but many spent the days learning fight choreography.
Les Misérables is a very combat-intensive production. Anything involving a slap, a fall, or a teenager dying has to be careful blocked by a professional fight choreographer. Steve Looten, Jr. spent Friday night and most of Saturday teaching various members of the cast how to fall, punch, fire a gun, carry a fallen comrade, tie up a police officer, and even die safely and in the most picturesque way possible.
Arguably some of the biggest and most challenging parts of the story to block are the battles at the barricade. The barricade boys spent most of their morning on these scenes and were joined in the afternoon by some of the girls to finish the last two battles. The way Steve has blocked these fights is comparable to a machine: each Friend and each girl is a singular piece of an intricate design. While one Friend is firing, another is reloading. Girls are tending to wounds and switching out guns. Each person does their part with such commitment to drive this machine, you have to wonder for a moment if this will be the production where the good guys win.
Of course, we all know there’s no such thing as a happy Les Mis. Everyone at the barricade must fall. While it could just be every man for himself and “just die when the spirit moves you,” Steve planned out the specifics of each and every death to give purpose and meaning to the bloodshed. Without giving too much away, be sure to watch how, when, and where each of the Friends is shot. You might find some poetic and distressing-in-the-good-way Easter eggs!
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