Photos courtesy of Doha Players
Final preparations are underway for the opening of Doha Players’ biggest-ever production: the hit musical Les Miserables, which will run from May 13 to May 17 at the Qatar National Theater.
A limited number of tickets are still on sale for QR75 and QR100 from The One in Landmark and Villaggio malls. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the National Theater on the night, on a first-come, first served basis.
Amateur theater group the Doha Players have been planning the show for nearly a year. According to its director Mione Van Der Merwe, the production has involved hundreds of volunteers, who have dedicated large chunks of their time taking part in rehearsals, building sets, making costumes and performing music for the show.
The cast have been rehearsing intensively since January – initially three times a week, and now four times a week, including full days on Fridays and Saturdays, as they fine-tune their roles ahead of the opening show on Tuesday, May 13.
Speaking to Doha News, Der Merwe spoke about the intense rehearsal schedule, and the amount of work involved in putting on a production of this scale:
“This has been a massive commitment from everyone – especially as we are all volunteers here with jobs and the children taking part have school and exams coming up. But everyone’s incredible dedication has paid off and it shows in the level of acting, costumes and sets we have for this production, which are some of our best.”
The musical, based on French poet and novelist Victor Hugo’s book of the same name, is set in early 19th century France and is the story of peasant Jean Valjean and his quest for redemption after he escapes parole, following a 19-year jail term for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving sister’s child.
The stage production is one of the world’s most well-known (and well-loved) musicals, and is the second longest-running show in London’s West End. Set during France’s turbulent revolutionary period, one of the show’s highlights is its dramatic barricade scene.
Der Merwe told us that more than 100 people tried out for a part in Les Miserables, their largest ever turnout for a production.
Qatar resident Peter Gibson was selected to play the lead role of Jean Valjean in the production – his first lead role in a musical.
Gibson, a Scottish father-of-two who works in the oil and gas industry and whose daughter Iona Gibson is also in the cast, told Doha News that it has always been a dream of his to star in a musical:
“Les Miserables is my favourite musical, so when the auditions opened, I thought I would give it a shot. But I never expected to get a part – and especially not the lead role. It has been a real Doha moment – and a dream come true for me.”
He added that although the rehearsals were a significant time commitment, taking part in the show has been an incredible experience:
“There is a bit of apprehension as opening night looms, but it’s good energy. I just want to deliver to people’s expectations,” he said.
The cast will be accompanied by live music, played by members of the Doha Community Orchestra.
The show will last approximately two hours and 30 minutes, with a 15 minute interval.
Do you plan to go along?