My sister and I were always huge fans of Les Mis. We memorized all the songs, debated the merits of the various versions of the CD (of which we owned all) and sang epic versions of “Confrontation.” My sister was perhaps slightly more obsessed that I was- she built an barricade in her room at the age of 12 and would stand on top waving a French flag.
Fast forward to Harvey. When we were able to get into our house after the water went down it was horrible. The fridge and freezer were on their side, the kitchen island was ripped up, and everything was soaking wet with slimy, smelly water. A virtual army of people arrived to help with clean up. Everything was carted out to the curb, sheetrock and kitchen cabinets were removed, and boxes of once treasured possessions were unceremoniously tossed onto the ever growing pile of trash. On about the second day into this process my husband mentioned to me that “I should tell my sister we have a barricade in our ditch.” Hmm. A Barricade in my ditch. So I posted on Facebook page:My sister posted the first comment: “Let’s do it!!! Les Miserables Hurricane Harvey Flash MOB!!!!!” About 90 comments later we decided to actually do this thing. I told everyone to wear boots. I started texting all my theater friends and asking everyone to share with their friends. Friends agreed to come from across town and reschedule plans. I hoped I might get a bunch of people from the neighborhood just show up, but by this point a lot of my neighbors were almost finished with their demolition and most were staying elsewhere.
I was able to cast most of the parts and called up a videographer friend of mine to ask if he could record it. I sent him a play by play list of scenes I wanted- I had a VISION. The day of the recording we stood in my driveway and sang through a few times. Then we recorded it there in the driveway. We didn’t have any good speakers, just a tiny bluetooth speaker we hooked up to a phone so it was hard to hear. After we recorded it we went and sang through it a couple of times on the barricade. Then we sang it one more time for the vocals- that was the best one. Then we went home. It took about 2 hours. It was really hot. A local reporter had come by to watch the process.
The whole experience was therapeutic for me. It was a much needed distraction in a very difficult and stressful week, and the process of creating art out of devastation was so hopeful, a reminder that “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”
Jeremiah Maddix and his lovely wife Jenna own In the Moment Productions, and Jenna was able to edit the video and get it to me the very next day. If you need a videographer call them up!