By this time, those who are waiting for the Manila leg of Les Miserables are looking forward to not just seeing Rachelle Ann Go perform onstage as Fantine, but also to seeing the whole stage set for the play. Last Saturday, March 5, technical director Cameron Flint gave us a preview of Les Miserables’ elaborate stage set, and shared some facts about their preparation for the play’s premiere on March 11:
The set is packed in 16 containers. With the number of materials and props needed for the whole play, the set for Les Miserables was shipped in several containers from Australia, which includes around 20 tons of scenery and 300 costumes. One of the stage’s highlights is a set of sliders that also rotate during the play’s several set changes.
To ensure that everything is smooth sailing, Flint said that they allot four to five days for technical rehearsals.
There are around 50 set changes for the whole play. The number of materials and equipment needed for the stage alone explains why Les Miserables has multiple set changes. “There’s a lot of flying cues and automation cues, and different looks,“ Flint said. How can they make those multiple changes in a short period? “A lot of automation,” Flint explained. “The set changes are all automated, [which helps with] the smooth scene changes.”
"We hope we present a seamless performance, which we will," Flint said.
Around 150 people worked together to set up the entire stage. Flint explained that the scope of work includes lights, sounds, and staging. “A lot of people are involved,” he remarked. For the Manila leg, they have flown in 80 crew members, and filled up the remaining 70 with local crew. Having worked for Wicked back in 2013, Flint commends the local crew for doing a fantastic job once again with Les Miserables. “It’s a pleasure working with them.”
There are a few changes from the old design. Although the set to be used for the Manila show is similar to that in the West End production, Flint noted that they have made a few tweaks, like the custom-built proscenium, which is made for the Manila and Singapore legs. “The idea is to bring the set out into the auditorium, and engage the audience and bring them to the world of Les Mis,” explains Flint.
Another tweak involves the iconic barricades, which does not revolve like the one used in the West End production. “There is no revolve, but there is a track on the barricade that drives it down to the stage,” notes Flint.
Expect to see lots of projections. For this production, Flint explains that there will be projectors mounted on several areas inside The Theater at Solaire, which will project different images on the stage’s solid back wall. Majority of the visuals that will be projected involve French writer Victor Hugo’s paintings. “Some of the images actually shift and move a little bit, which utilize a very stunning effect,” Flint said.
Also, a bit of good news for all Les Miserables fans out there: For those who have yet to purchase tickets to the award-winning musical (or watch it more than once) can still catch up, as Concertus Manila announced that the run is extended until April 24, bringing the Manila leg to a grand total of six weeks.
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