I used to direct a small cast for my musical project during high school. I chose Les Miserables without having even seen the show in my life. The songs were a constant feature playing in my ol’ Sony Discman (remember those?) as I immersed myself in the incredible tale of tragedy and redemption as reflected in Claude-Michel Schönberg‘s majestic symphony. (incredibly those emotive words were translated from original french lyrics)
It was mostly guesswork as I tried to direct and play out the scenes from just listening to the songs. Incidentally, when I finally got to watch the musical few years down the road, what I had envisioned wasn’t too far away from the real thing. The story of Les Miserables as it turns out, is one of those that has the most profound impact on me and how I view life.
Do you know why the audience were cheering, tearing up and applauding at the same time for this lady? Yes, it is because they never thought she could sing like that from their first impressions. Yes, once in a little while a diamond in the rough comes along and people do like to be pleasantly surprised.
But deep down, I think it’s because the song that she sang is very much about her. A 47-year old unemployed woman whose glimpses of her dreams may have faded with each advancing year, embraces the story of song like her own. That perhaps the reality to be like Elaine Paige would never come to pass as the scent of youth begins to escape her.
And here, in this talentshow in front of the whole world, she let out a cry from the heart.
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted
Life is full of ironies. A song of despair is actually re-igniting hope for this lady.