For the completely uncultured, Les Miserables is a serious, heavy, three-hour, epic stage production that confronts issues such as redemption, poverty, and rebellion. And there’s singing. Nothing but singing. I am fortune to be a part of a local production of the show that is finally closing this weekend after a five-week run. I will miss being a part of the company of mostly talented actors that brought this show to life, but unfortunately, there is one aspect of this show in which I will not look back fondly: flatulating actors.
A novice of civilized society should have a basic understanding of why the public frowns upon the passing of gas in public. It sounds obscene, and nobody wants to smell your exhaust. Apparently a member of the Les Mis cast thinks it’s humorous to expel gas. On stage. During a performance. Before we have to hold a note for 16 beats during the finale of act one. They are silent, yet they are repulsive.
On the other hand, I must admit that maintaining your composure and character when assaulted by this invisible intruder is a reliable method of testing ones acting abilities. On the night of this particular assault, I took a deep breath, preparing for my crescendoing four measure D sharp. I pulled in so much of the offensive gas into my lungs that it left an aftertaste. I wanted to gag. I wanted to cry. But I maintained my composure because over 300 people paid good money for me and the rest of the cast to escort them into a world of song, and the last thing they needed was for me to shatter that fantasy by doubling over and dry-heaving during a climactic moment. This amount of focus and dedication, I believe, makes me a good actor.
However, the culprit of these butt burps better hope I never find them out. If I somehow discover who among my thirty cast mates is terrorizing us with chemical warfare, I will throw an awfully big tantrum, a tantrum so big that it will not only embarrass me but him or her as well. I considered fighting fire with fire by laying a crop duster of my own but concluded that would be too immature.