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“Kinky Boots” and “Les Miserables” Research Paper

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Introduction

Inspired by a true story, Kinky Boots is a film about an unlikely collaboration between a drag queen and a shoe factory owner. By putting together their efforts and aside their myriad personal issues and insecurities, they work together to save the shoe business by inventing high heeled men’s boots. Les Miserables is the take of Jean Valjean an ex-convict trying to live by the law but is forced to be on the run escaping recapture by the ruthless Inspector Jevert who intends to re-incarcerate him.

He adopts and brings up Cosette and after going through numerous challenges, they end up being swept up in the political turmoil that rocked Paris prior to and during the French revolution (Failes par. 6). In Kinky Boots, the lighting mood is warm and bright, which have the result of bringing out the optimism and romance that makes a big part of the movie (LNS Online America par. 7).

This contrasts sharply with the overall dark lighting in Les Miserables. However, then again, this is not surprising since the theme of the film is a darker and more forlorn (Failes par. 9). The overriding emotion in the film is one of hopeless and fear rather than the optimism and the hope that is dominant in Kinky Boots.

Body

In Kinky Boots, there are several instances where non-motivate light is applied to reinforce the mood of the current scent and/or create and fill multiple spaces within the same scene. For example after the death of Charlie’s father, the lighting goes of abruptly with only a beam of light illuminating Charlie.

This serves to personify the sorrow and depression that Charlie is facing, he fells alone and abandoned with no hope and this ultimately inspires sorrow in the audience who are forced to focus for a few moments on the monstrosity of the loss and loneliness of his brother. In Les Miserables, after Fountine has sold her teeth she is depicted lying in bed with light only showing her face and the rest of the body shrouded in darkness (LNS Online).

Like the scene in Kinky Boots, this helps the viewer appreciate her sorrow and isolation as well as compelling them to focus on these. Separation of space is another way in which lighting is used in Kinky Boots, at one point, Lolar is dancing in the club with a backdrop of shining red light while in a separated image, Charlie is in his office contemplating the business ideas he got from her.

His part of the scene is covered in normal blue light, which juxtaposes their different environments. Lola’ club scene is illuminated by red, a colour that stands for excitement and action while on the other hand Charlie presented in a cooler and more relaxed blue light. Ultimately, the separation of the two spaces is achieved through the contrasting colours (LNS Online America par. 3).

As aforementioned, the lighting in the play Kinky Boots is mostly warm and bright, the brightness and warmth of the whole set is characteristic or the commercial comedy that it is. Therefore, the lighting does indeed resonate with the overall theme of the play as well as concept of production.

IN addition unlike in a film where the lighting can be manipulated from one scene to the other sometimes even after the shooting is done. Live performances often have to be consistent, therefore, a universal lighting theme is more often than not both practical and suitable (Jones par. 4).

The film on the other hand has the advantage of a bigger budget and more opportunities for technical adjustments. However, in this case, the lighting was universally dark, which was quite in harmony with the melancholic theme. In addition, given that this is a period movie, it made sense that it should be “darker” both for historical and dramatic reasons.

To most people, the period in which the film was shot was considered a rather dark one in European history. Furthermore, there is a limit on the extent or number of lights one can use in a historical movie. The play, on the other hand, is based on a metropolitan and existing setting full of pomp and colour and one expects to encounter pretty or light in various forms.

In the play, the lighting is in conjunction with all the other elements of design such as the costumes set and even props. The warm bright light resonates with the excitement and overall cheerfulness of the comedy. When Lola and her friends go out to dance in the club, they are dancing in red dresses in the backdrop of red lights and this brings out the sensual and exiting elements of their performance more so given their revealing clothes.

In the same way albeit in a very different context, the lighting, sound, props and costumes in Les Miserables are dark and this coolly absorbs the dark light creating and enhancing the sad melancholy the director wished to bring out. There is hardly a smile from any of the characters; most of them display either anger, fear despair or hopelessness (Jing-yue 13).

This is reflected on their dull costumes and scenario often devoid of anything bright, in fact, it would have been illogical for the production to use anything other dark light. Even the weather is cold in most scenes with wetness, ice and water constituting majority of the landscape.

Conclusion

In conclusion, when one considers the merits of both performances, they must take to account the fact that their mediums of production makes them fundamentally different in their varied scopes. Theatre is more dependent on the direct actions of the actors to bring out the message while film can apply a variety of cinematographic designs to enhance the scenery and action.

In the play Kinky Boots, the light is used for instance to separate scenes, which is, however, not a necessary technique in film since it can be achieved by manipulating and pictures to appear of separate parts of the screen. One would expect that film by virtue of being more technically enhanced should be more engaging than theatre. However, I found the play to more engaging since probably because of proximity to the actors or the fact that one gets to hear their real voices and view them live rather than on screen.

In a play, actors tend to be more expressive, they will be louder and their facial expressions would be more intense, in film they are not nearly as engaging since they are shot in separate scenes sometimes without a sense of continuity. Therefore, even as many people may find it more interesting and convenient to watch films plays will, I have discovered provide a more intense and exiting experience.

Works Cited

Failes, Ian. . <http://www.fxguide.com/featured/making-a-musical-les-miserables/>

Jing-yue, Zhang. “The Great Symphonic Poem-The Polyphynic Structure of Les Miserable.” Journal of Taiyuan University of Technology (Social Sciences Edition) 6 (2012): 13-17. Print.

Jones, Kenneth. 2008. Kinky Boots, the Musical, Walking Toward Broadway.

LNS Online America. 2014. (Al Hirschfeld Theatre).

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IvyPanda. (2020, April 2). "Kinky Boots" and "Les Miserables". Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/kinky-boots-and-les-miserables/

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"Kinky Boots" and "Les Miserables." IvyPanda, 2 Apr. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/kinky-boots-and-les-miserables/.

1. IvyPanda. "Kinky Boots" and "Les Miserables." April 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/kinky-boots-and-les-miserables/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. "Kinky Boots" and "Les Miserables." April 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/kinky-boots-and-les-miserables/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) '"Kinky Boots" and "Les Miserables"'. 2 April.

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