French Honor Society carries learning to San Francisco Broadway

Simran Devidasani

He held her in his arms as she cried. The curtains closed, and before they opened again, the crowd stood up, applauding and cheering on the cast of “Les Miserables”, a play originally written and performed in French, but adapted in English. In the crowd stood several MVHS students — specifically, students studying French at MVHS.

When French Honor Society Secretary senior Rohan Prakash, saw that Les Miserables would be coming to the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco this summer, he immediately visualized a possible field trip.

The Orpheum Theater in San Francisco was where Les Miserables was showcased. It is a common place for classic dramas. Photo by Simran Devidasani.“The minute I saw the ad, I knew that I had to tell [French teacher] Madame Finck about the opportunity,” Prakash said. “And when I did, she and I looked up the timings and dates.

Finck felt that taking her students to watch the play would give them a “valuable cultural experience” outside of the classroom setting because theatre is an important part of French culture.

Both French teachers announced the field trip details to all their French classes after deciding to go up to San Francisco on Aug. 25 and 26 for the last two showings.

The students took the Caltrain up to Millbrae, where they switched onto a BART train that brought them right to the Orpheum Theater.

“I’ve been to the city twice with the students for museums, and I see that students from Cupertino don’t get to San Francisco that often,“ Finck said. “So it is exciting to take public transportation to take the train and give them an out of Cupertino experience.”

In the end, even people not involved in French were eager to attend, including senior Brenda Li, an AP Spanish student, and other staff members. Music teacher Jon Fey, biology teacher Renée Fallon and AP secretary Ms. Mandac chaperoned the shows with the two French teachers, Sarah Finck and Melanie L’Homme.

Even for Les Miserables fans like sophomore Etreta Thakkar, who has read Victor Hugo’s original book and saw the play on DVD (2010) twice, the play was a completely different experience.

“[The play] really, really vibrant. Seeing it live was so different from seeing it recorded,” Thakkar said. “It was a really intense experience, especially in the beginning, when the music starts and it’s really dramatic.”

Simran Devidasani and Anupama Cemballi are AP French students who attended the play and reported for this story.