You couldn’t keep me from this con

September 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

On the way back from Kumoricon last week, I was listening to my Les Misérables 2010 cast recording. I’d hoped it’d take me the whole way home, but it ended about an hour or so out because I took the long way out of the the town in order to avoid the death trap that is highway 14. I’d unwittingly taken this route on the way in and swore not to do so again.

Anyway, I was all conned out and listening to Les Mis and I thought, You know what’d be awesome? If I dressed as a Les Mis character next year! … You know what’d be even more awesome? A whole troupe dressed as Les Mis characters! … No, scrap this con and just have a whole Les Mis con! That’d be awesome!!

Now before declaring me a crazy nerd of the strangest type, hear me out. First of all, because I love costumes, dressing up as your favorite character would be encouraged. I’d probably go as Eponine.

There’s a lot more, so I’m putting it below the fold…

Now, not only would there be con attendees in costume, but there’d also be three different on-going performances of the show at pretty much any time. The first would be professionals, and there’d most likely be far fewer of these showings than the others–two a day or so.

The second would be performances put on by con attendees. These would be pretty well structured and the goal would be to achieve as close to a professional show as possible with people who’ve only practiced in their car. Attendees would have to sign up for parts in advance and commit to being there for the entire showing. There’d probably be a few of these a day, two or three or so.

The last could be outdoors, open to whatever public or attendees happen to be wandering by. It wouldn’t have as strict of an audience or participants as the other two types of showings. Anyone who wanted could sing whatever parts they want; the stage would be kept from no-one. You could have five Fantines singing about the dreams they dreamed and twelve Valjeans asking who they are all at once, maybe all on stage or maybe scattered around the park where the open-air theater would be. This showing definitely wouldn’t have a live band (the professional one would, the non-professional but more structured showing may or may not), but would have the soundtrack pre-recorded. These performances would only stop when local noise laws demand.

So those are the shows. “But there must be something other than just watching the same show for an entire weekend or two days or however long this con will go on!” I hear you say. Yes, yes there would be.

There would be panels and classes. Let’s do the classes first because the panels are more exciting so I’ll make you wait for those.

I’m sure there could be even more, but here are classes that I think would be awesome. Keep in mind, these would all be taught by people who know their shit and aren’t just random Les Mis fans.

A class on the history of the time. A lot of the story has to do with class and people struggling to survive at the time. What were the economics like? Why were they like that? What’s the actual, historical story of the revolt and why exactly did it come about?

A class on the differences between the book and the musical. While the musical is beautiful, there are some glaring differences in the storyline. Let’s have a class to explore these differences, why the changes were made, and allow attendees to feel out for themselves which story versions they prefer. We could even bring different movie iterations of the story into the class as well.

An in-depth analysis of each character. These would be shorter classes, but separate ones for each character. They would dive heavily into the book and into Victor Hugo’s life. They would discuss Hugo’s inspiration for the characters, how he saw them, and explore each character’s choices throughout the story and their role in the overarching tale.

As you can see, this is just the tip of the iceberg for what could be with classes. But I’m just one person, albeit one very obsessed person, so we’ll move on from there and get to the panels! This is truly the exciting part, because for panels you must have special guests:

Michael Ball! Colm Wilkinson! Rebecca Caine! David Burt! Alfie Boe! Roger Allam! Patti LuPone! Lea Salonga! Alun Armstrong! Matt Lucas! Susan Jane Tanner! Jenny Galloway! And, of course, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, and Jean-Marc Natel!! (Now that I write out the names, I sincerely hope all of these people are still alive.)

What these panels would cover seems fairly obvious. What’s it like being involved in such a huge show? What was it like to create it from scratch? Perform for the first time? Reimagine and perform as a reworking? What are some funny backstage stories? How long does it take the Thénardiers to put on their make-up for each show?

Last, but definitely not least, there would be two special performances put on by attendees. Participants in these performances would be determined by competition. Each character would have two winners: best costume and best voice. The con would end with these two special showings, in a theater big enough to hold everyone who wants to come. First, there’d be the showing with the best-costumed troupe and then there’d be the showing with the best-voiced troupe.

Ah…. It sounds like SO MUCH FUN! Seriously, you couldn’t pay me to not go to a con of this type. Well, I was going to go to a once-in-a-lifetime event, hang out with some of my heroes and spend a few days with other people who are as in love with my favorite story as I am, possibly participate in it for the only time ever…. But this random stranger offered me $1,000,000 not to go, so I’m staying home. Yeah no.


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