Quazimodo! is a modern version of a classic story, adding humor and contemporary perspective, a play about the grotesquely beautiful and the beautifully grotesque. Quazimodo, the deformed bell ringer of Notre Dame, is in love with Esmeralda, a gypsy dancer who does not know he exists. Esmeralda is framed for the murder of her lover, Phoebus, and Quazimodo saves her from execution, bringing her to the sanctuary of the South Tower of Notre Dame where he lives with his two gargoyles, the romantic Paquette and the cynical Gudule. Esmeralda has a demanding personal aesthetic. Her mother was visited by a vision of the holy virgin, who cautioned that Esmeralda could not be exposed to sin, or she would die. Esmeralda has interpreted sin to mean ugliness. Quazimodo hides from Esmeralda, but she manages to coax him into revealing himself, and she is horrified by his ugliness. However, Quazimodo shows her remarkable kindness, and she begins to trust him and doubt her beliefs about the nature of sin. But the Parisians believe Esmeralda guilty and the archdeacon of Notre Dame permits them to take her away and hang her. Quazimodo, consumed by grief, crawls into her grave to die. The gargoyles are left alone on the tower, passive observers of the destiny of France.
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