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moviemaniac

Turning

Does anyone else think that the song "Turning" is pointless? I think the show could survive without it. The women crying over the death of the barricade boys just seems to add more depression. After all, Marius basically does the same thing in the next song, "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables." "Turning" follows "Javert's Suicide" as well. Disagree with me if you must, but I think that having all those depressing songs in a row seems like overkill.
kozafluitmusique

I think its meant to show how everyone was affected. I can see why it's pointless, though.
Eppie-Sue

Oh I actually don't have the energy to go off about "Turning" ... but yes. I've come to hate that part. No, the parallel between "Lovely Ladies" and "Turning" is not lost on me, and trust me, I've tried to even accept it as a parallel between Combeferre's speech about children and women losing their hope, their dignity, because of their fathers/husbands/brothers dying in the battle.
But Combeferre's speech had a point. "Turning" doesn't. It's a bunch of women going on about "schoolboys" and "nothing changes" and "children" and "kiss them when they cried". And that's the main problem, because that makes the students seem like naive kids who started a revolution without having a clue, really. The "it was all in vain" story. And that + Marius going "don't ask me what your sacrifice was for" moments later really kills a bit of the message of Les MisÚrables.
Of course "ECAET" can't follow directly after "Javert's Suicide", but... I was actually thinking if adding a song for Cosette and for the nurses and ... maids around unconscious!wounded!Marius, maybe taking a bit from "Castle on a Cloud" would have been an option... it would also help correcting the "Pfh, who cares about your problems now, we're together"-attitude Cosette gives off at "Don't think about it, Marius, with all the years ahead of us!" ... she would be shown caring for him and worrying and whatnot. I have no idea.

But ugh "Turning". Kill it with fire.
Vanessa20

Trust me, you're not the only one who feels that way. I've lost count of the number of times its been expressed.

I understand why it's included, though. It gives the female ensemble their money's worth of material to sing and provides a musical cushion between Javert's Suicide" and "Empty Chairs." Besides, as Herbert Kretzmer said, it addresses the issue of women bereaved by war and civil strife, which is certainly a valid issue. That's why it has the same tune as "Lovely Ladies," as Eppie Sue said- both songs depict social suffering of women (I think the "Look Down" theme would be the equivalent for men, though Kretzmer never said so, since it's associated with both the convicts and the beggars, plus briefly with the wounded Marius).

Which adds to sense I've often gotten that the musical is intentionally more feminist-minded than the book is. Just look at it: Fantine fired by a jerkass man instead of a religious hypocrite woman, Bamatabois' dirty deed changed from a snowball down her back to sexual assault, Eponine changed from a pitiful, morally stunted "rose in misery" to a lovable feisty street rat, the emphasis on the grieving women after the barricade, and even Mme. Thenardier changed from an emotion-driven brute under her husband's little finger to an equal scheming partner who puts him down in front of their customers. I'd love to write an essay on the subject someday.
The Very Angry Woman

Vanessa20 wrote:
I understand why it's included, though. It gives the female ensemble their money's worth of material to sing


That actually is why. They didn't want to pay the women so much for doing so little in Act 2.
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