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Announcing Rubicon Theatre Company’s
Summer Education Program 2021!

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Les Misérables

PLOT SUMMARY

In 1815 France, convict Jean Valjean is released on parole by prison guard Javert after serving a 19-year sentence for stealing a loaf of bread. After several months of drifting around France, Valjean is offered food and shelter by the Bishop of Digne, but steals his silver during the night. He’s caught by the authorities, but the Bishop lies, saying that the silver was given as a gift, and secures Valjean's release. Touched by the Bishop's love, grace and generosity, Valjean breaks his parole and vows to start an honest life under a new identity. Javert swears he will bring the escaped convict to justice.

 

Eight years later in 1823, Valjean has become a wealthy factory owner and mayor of the small town of Montreuil-sur-Mer. A young woman named Fantine, one of his workers, is discovered to be sending money to her illegitimate daughter, Cosette, who lives with the unscrupulous Thénardiers, and their daughter Éponine and is dismissed by the foreman. Left with no alternative, Fantine turns to prostitution. During an argument with an abusive customer, Javert, now a police inspector, arrests Fantine, but Valjean intercedes and takes her to a hospital where she is diagnosed with a terminal case of tuberclosis.

 

Later, Valjean learns that a man believed to be him has been arrested. Unable to condemn an innocent man, Valjean reveals his identity to the court before departing for the hospital. There he promises to a dying Fantine that he will look after her daughter. After Fantine dies, Javert arrives at the hospital and attempts to arrest Valjean, but Valjean escapes and finds Cosette at the Thénardiers brothel/halfway house. Valjean bribes the couple to allow him to take Cosette away. After Valjean confides in Cosette about her mother passing away, he promises to be like a father to her. Valjean makes contact with the Bishop of Digne who agrees to give him and Cosette new idenities to hide from the authorities.

 

Nine years later, Jean Maximilien Lamarque, the only government official sympathetic toward the poor, is nearing death. Students Marius Pontmercy and Enjolras, together with street urchin Gavroche, discuss fomenting a revolution to overthrow the government. Later Marius catches a glimpse of Cosette, now a young woman, and instantly falls in love with her. Meanwhile, despite Cosette's questioning, Valjean refuses to tell her about his past or anything about her late mother, Fantine.

 

At a café, Enjolras organises a group of idealistic students as Lamarque's death is announced. Meanwhile, Éponine, now Marius's friend, leads him to Cosette, where the two profess their love for one another. Lamenting that her secret love for Marius will never be reciprocated, Éponine fatalistically decides to join the revolution. Later, an attempted robbery of Valjean's house makes him mistakenly believe that Javert has discovered him, and he flees with Cosette. As they leave, Enjolras rallies the Parisians to revolt, and Cosette sends a farewell letter to Marius.

 

The next day, the students interrupt Lamarque's funeral procession and begin their assault. Javert poses as a rebel in order to spy on them, but is quickly exposed by Gavroche and captured. During the ensuing gunfight, Éponine saves Marius at the cost of her own life, professing her love to him before she dies, which leaves Marius devastated at the loss of his best friend. Valjean, intercepting a letter from Marius to Cosette, goes to the barricade to protect Marius. After saving Enjolras from snipers, he is allowed to execute Javert. However, when the two are alone, Valjean chooses to free Javert instead and fires his gun to fake the execution. Initially disbelieving, Javert wonders at Valjean's generosity.

 

With the majority of the Parisians not joining the revolution as the students expected, they resolve to fight to the death. Everyone is killed by government troops in the final assault on the street barricades, but Marius is saved when Valjean drags his unconscious body into the sewers. Thénardier, scavenging the dead bodies, steals Marius's ring. Valjean recovers and escapes the sewers carrying Marius, but is confronted at the exit by Javert. Javert threatens to shoot Valjean if he refuses to surrender, but Valjean ignores him. Unable to reconcile the conflict between his civil and moral duties, two things which he always considered the same, Javert commits suicide by jumping off a bridge into the Seine river.

 

Later, Marius mourns for his friends but Cosette comforts him. Revealing his past to Marius, Valjean tells him he must leave because his presence endangers Cosette, and makes Marius promise never to tell her. A few months later, Marius and Cosette marry; the Thénardiers crash the reception and testify that they saw Valjean carrying a murdered corpse through the sewers. Thénardier unwittingly shows Marius the ring that he stole from him as "proof." Recognising the ring, Marius realises that it was Valjean who saved his life. Marius and Cosette rush to Valjean after being told his location by Thénardier.

 

As Valjean sits dying in a local convent from his long-term heart condition, he perceives the spirit of Fantine appearing to take him to Heaven. Cosette and Marius rush in to bid farewell. Valjean hands Cosette his confession of his past life, and the spirits of Fantine and the Bishop guide him to paradise, where he joins the spirits of Enjolras, Éponine, Gavroche, and the other rebels at the Barricade on the rue Soufflot.

CHARACTER BREAKDOWN

IMPORTANT NOTE: In addition to the following characters, most of the company of Les Misérables will play numerous other parts throughout the telling of the story, from policemen to prostitutes. Every cast member will get to stretch their character development skills.

Jean Valjean

Valjean is a good man turned bad by circumstances. He is intelligent, passionate and resourceful, and notable for his incredible physical strength. Actor needs a wide vocal range with a high A.

Fantine

A young and beautiful woman from an impoverished background. In order to support her daughter Cosette, she takes up a number of low paying manual jobs, and finally resorts to prostitution. She dies from consumption. Actor needs a strong voice with range and a depth of emotion. Sings “I Dreamed a Dream.”

Javert

A narrow-minded and persistent police officer, obsessed with punishing every kind of criminal activity. He does not believe in reform. He pursues Valjean relentlessly, waiting for a misstep. Javert is without mercy, but this harshness stems from his own past: he was born in a prison.

Cosette

The daughter of Fantine. Strong-willed, intelligent, gentle and pure. She falls in love with Marius.

Marius Pontmercy

The son of a war hero and grandson of an eccentric member of nobility, Marius is an intelligent, romantic and idealistic young man. He falls in love with Cosette and fights on the barricades. High baritone or tenor.

Éponine Thénardier

The eldest daughter of the Thénardiers, Éponine enjoys a pampered childhood but an impoverished adolescence. Her parents teach her to steal and cheat, but she is redeemed by her deep love for Marius. Sings “On My Own.”

Monsieur Thénardier

A greedy and selfish man, he works in a variety of jobs, including tavern owner. He claims to have fought in the 1815 campaign. He is the husband of Madame Thénardier and the father of Azelma and Éponine. For money, he and his wife take in Young Cosette, forcing the little girl to perform a number of chores.

Madame Thénardier

A nasty and selfish woman, she is the wife of Monsieur Thénardier and the mother of Azelma and Éponine.

Enjolras

The leader of the ABC Society, Enjolras is an intense young student and a radical revolutionary. Despite his good looks, he is uninterested in women, focusing all of his efforts on revolution. Sings “Do You Hear The People Sing” and “One Day More”.

Gavroche

A little urchin boy, who roams the streets of Paris. He’s the neglected son of the Thénardiers, but he prefers the streets. He dies a heroic death on the barricades.

Bishop Myriel

Despite a tragic past, Myriel is a generous and kindhearted man of God. He is famed for his good deeds throughout the area of Digne. Myriel is the one who restores Valjean's faith in humanity.

Grantaire

A member of the ABC society, he has little interest in revolution; he spends most of his time drinking and chasing after women. He deeply admires the radical Enjolras, and spends time with the ABC society despite his disagreement with their ideals.

Mademoiselle Baptistine

Sister of Bishop Myriel. She is a kind and religious woman, devoted to her brother.

Félix Tholomyés

A student in Paris. He is Fantine’s lover and the father of her child. He abandons her in order to assume an important political position.

Sister Simplice

A nun who looks after Fantine during her final illness. She’s a kind and dedicated woman who refuses to tell a lie, until she breaks this rule to save Valjean.

Champmathieu

Champmathieu resembles Jean Valjean so closely that the authorities assume he is Valjean under another name.

Fauchelevent

A man living in Montreuil-sur-mer; he dislikes Valjean/Madeleine, until Valjean saves his life after Fauchelevent's cart overturns. Valjean finds him a job as a gardener in Paris, and Fauchelevent repays Valjean later by helping him stay in the Petit-Picpus convent.

Azelma Thénardier

The youngest daughter of the Thénardier family. She adores her sister, Éponine.

Georges Pontmercy

A hero in the Napoleonic army, Georges marries the younger daughter of Monsieur Gillenormand and fathers Marius Pontmercy. However, after the death of his wife, Monsieur Gillenormand attempts to sever ties with Georges (whom he hates for his political beliefs) and adopts Marius. Georges spends the rest of his life tending his garden and snatching brief glimpses of his son.

Monsieur Gillenormand

He is a relic of the old, pre-revolutionary order; he hates the new political ideas, and gathers in a salon with other like-minded people to relieve the old, bourgeois order. Though he is gruff and curt, he loves his grandson Marius deeply.

Courfeyrac

A member of the ABC society. He is one of Marius' closest friends. He’s an influential speaker and very appealing to the ladies.

Combeferre

A member of the ABC society, second-in-command to Enjolras. He provides a more practical focus to Enjolras' intensity. He is said to represent the philosophy of the revolution.

Feuilly

A member of the ABC Society; he’s the only member of the group who’s not a student but rather a worker; he makes fans for a living. He is an orphan and taught himself to read and write.

Jean Prouvaire

A member of the ABC society. He loves languages and history; he is the quietest member of the group.

Joly

A member of the ABC society, he is a hypochondriac who studies medicine. Still, he has a very happy disposition.

Lesgle

Also known as  Lègle, Laigle, L'Aigle [The Eagle], or Bossuet, he is a member of the ABC society. He’s often unlucky but still maintains a happy disposition. He became friends with Marius when he covered for him during roll call in the university.

M. Mabeuf

A churchwarden who tells Marius the truth about his estranged but devoted father. He loves books, but is forced to slowly pawn his magnificent collection during a time of poverty.

Bamatabois

Bamatabois taunts Fantine into violence. He is a wealthy, dissolute young man who thinks of himself as a gentleman, even dressing in expensive clothes. He is drunk and in a sadistic mood. He chauvinistically feels it is his right to buy anything, even Fantine.

Foreman

The Foreman begins Fantine on her desperate, downward spiral. He should be virile, commanding, and a bit sleazy around the edges.

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