Set in 1497, our story tells the life of the deformed Quasimodo, his love for Esmeralda
and how his inner beauty shines and
empowers him to protect her and the people she cares for.
A young girl is seen to leave a deformed baby on the steps of Notre Dame. Before
leaving she sings of her love for the child, but how the church will be his only
source of charity and survival. She is seen by Claude Frollo, a young priest who
takes pity on the abandoned child and takes him into his care.
As a 12 year old boy, Quasimodo is tormented by the Parisian children, but a young
Esmeralda befriends him. They sing of their shared dreams for their lives.
Through a musical/danced transformation we move forward 10 years as see Quasimodo
as a young man. Quasimodo, now the bell ringer in Notre Dame, is still under the
care and protection of the church. Claude Frollo, now the Archdeacon, acts as a father
to Quasimodo. The priests in the Cathedral despise him and are cruel and vindictive
towards him. Quasimodo is entranced by the people below the bell tower and often
ventures into the street to be with them. He follows Esmeralda’s life and looks to
protect and care for her.
Esmeralda lives within a street gang headed by Clopin, the self styled King of Thieves.
Forced to dance, she creates a distraction for the gang so that they can steal from
the people of Paris. Her dancing has also proves alluring for Claude Frollo who secretly
lusts after her.
Clopin has an entourage of whores, but one called Sheria, considers herself to be
his “wife”. She loves him and will do anything for him. The love she has for Clopin
is not reciprocated, and he chooses to indulge her only when he sees fit. Like Claude,
he also lusts after Esmeralda and intends to make her his wife.
Marique is a wealthy sponsor, and lover, of Pierre the Poet who sells his poems on
the streets of Paris. However, when he sees Esmeralda threatened and treated roughly
treated by Clopin, he also falls in love with her. As he rushes forward to help Esmeralda
it is obvious to Marique, that Pierre has fallen instantly in love with Esmeralda,
and that Esmeralda now forms a threat to her own relationship with him. After this
incident, Pierre remains in the street alone.
Two of Clopin’s gang find Pierre alone and under their self imposed curfew, drag
him off to Clopin’s den; the Palace of Fools.
At the Palace of Fools, we find a Clopin, surrounded by whores, and thieves and other
gang members, relaxing after their dayon the streets of Paris. Intrigued by the
arrival of Pierre, Clopin and his gang hold a “trial” and establish that Pierre is
guilty of breaking their curfew and should be hanged. However, to the amazement of
the gang and fury of Clopin, Esmeralda steps forward and, to spite Clopin, invokes
a gang law; that if a female marries Pierre, then will become a member of the gang
for the duration of the marriage. The length of the marriage is decided by breaking
a clay pot and counting how many pieces it spits into. Each part represents one year.
The pot Esmeralda breaks, splits into four pieces.
Enraged, Clopin has to accept the marriage, but vows to reclaim Esmeralda for himself
at the end of the four years.
The Festival of Fools draws all of Paris to the streets, including Clopin and his
gang. Quasimodo, unable to merely watch the festivities from the bell tower, comes
down onto the square outside of Notre Dame. The crowds humour his presence and crown
him the King of Fools. He is delighted and, naively, believes he has been accepted
by the people of Paris. However, Claude Frollo is enraged by Quasimodo’s behaviour
as he has allowed himself to be ridiculed. As a punishment he allows him to be severely
whipped by his priest. Quasimodo is confused and scared, and after being beaten,
he is left in the street alone. In his lowest moment he sings to God of his frustration
and sadness of his deformities, and the pain he feels in being despised by all around
him. He cries out to be left to die.