“Candide” brings laughter, celebrates musician


Lights, camera, action! And so began the School of Visual and Performing Arts’(VAPA) “Candide” last week. However, unlike a movie set, the operetta didn’t have any retakes, and performers were up on their feet, singing at the top of their lungs, for nearly three hours for four days straight.
“Candide” is an adaptation of Voltaire’s novella of the same name. The music for the operetta was composed by Leonard Bernstein. What made the production even more special was that it commemorated Bernstein’s worldwide centenary celebration.
“Leonard Bernstein is a brilliant composer, and his music isn’t easy. His numbers for the ensemble are complicated and then coordinating the staging along with it was both challenging and rewarding,” said Rachal Boraique, a double cast for Paquette.
Boraique was one of the more than 30 members of the production, directed by Mark Clark. On the nights when Boraique wasn’t playing Paquette, she was busy performing in the ensemble for the show.
“Candide” is set in the 18th century. It follows Candide, the lead role, in his journey around the globe, his hardships and discovery of different perspectives on life.
“It is comical. I didn’t really know what the play was about. I thought it was going to be something boring because it’s telling you about history,” said Akta Patel, a nursing senior.
Leah Huber, a double cast for Cunegonde, enjoyed being part of the operetta for its satirical story line.
“Everything that happens is so over-the-top that it might seem ridiculous, but it just makes the lessons the characters learn that much more touching, sweet and poignant in the end,” said Huber, a voice performance sophomore.
Both Boraique and Huber learned some lessons from their individual characters.
Huber personally related with Cunegonde’s struggles. “While she does make some mistakes along the way, she learns how to accept her flaws and strives to be her best self. Admittedly, it was a challenge to see past her immediate shallowness, but as she struggled and eventually found her place in the world, her situation really resonated with me,” Huber said.
“ I think many young women can relate to being judged on outward appearance and having to find a way to rise above it.”
The show received support from students and parents alike. Bethany Lemoine, a ULM alumni, attended the Friday show to support her daughter Kara Carter, one of the heretics.
“It’s very enjoyable. It’s funny in some aspects, and it’s great to have an opera that has laughter in it because usually they’re very serious,” Lemoine said.
With Candide marked off the list, VAPA is now preparing for Fall Fusion among many other performances. This year’s Fall Fusion is set to take place on Nov. 16 at Brown Theatre. Entrance is free for students and $5 for general admission.