[Original post 5/6/2009] Les Misérables as put on by the California Central Coast-based PCPA organization is an outstanding presentation.
PCPA (Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts) is affiliated with Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California — in the wine belt of the California Central Coast. It is unique in that it is the only training program of its kind in the country offered by a community college. They perform out of two venues: The Marian Theatre at the college in Santa Maria, and the Solvang Festival Theater, an outdoor theater in the city of Solvang about a half hour south of Santa Maria.
Of note, all performances of the major offerings of the year are in a smallish theater in the round with a raised central stage and tiered seating around about 270-degrees of the circle. The rest of the circle is attached to the stage and is where most scene changes and the like take place. The flexibility shown in the use of this small space is nothing short of amazing.
Les Misérables, which I just got back from at the Marian Theatre, was a treat. If you go to the PCPA site (probably until mid-July at least) you can see a Flash slide show of the various parts of the performance. They don’t allow any recording during a performance so I can’t show anything here but note carefully how the stage is used. For this performace, the stage was largely empty and various sets moved in and out through a back door. Seamless changes made while performers were keeping the action going in the area between the stage and the audience.
For those who may not have seen it, Les Misérables is a musical where not only the songs are sung but the entire dialog is sung. It is set in France around the time of the Revolution and follows the intertwined lives of several people over a number of years. The musical closely follows the work of the same name by Victor Hugo. Wikipedia does a better job of summarizing the work so I won’t repeat that here.
The show will be running through 10 May 2009 at the Marian Theatre and then from 11 June through 12 July 2009 at the Solvang Festival Theater. If you plan to be in the California Central Coast or need an excuse for a trip here. If Le Miz doesn’t suit you, then 17 Jul-1 Aug 2009 at the Marian Theatre and 7-23 Aug 2009 at the Solvang Festival Theater PCPA will be putting on The Music Man. I have my tickets. 🙂
What does this have to do with computers? Absolutely nothing! But, it’s my blog and I enjoyed the show so much I just had to give others the opportunity to know it exists and maybe equally enjoy it.
One note: The first act is two (2) hours long. Don’t drink several glasses of water before going!