Theater Works YOUth Works “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” will mirror more of the Victor Hugo novel than the Disney animated film.
Chris Hamby, director of the production, which opens Friday in the black box theater, said the play is a serious drama portrayed with raw emotions.
“We’re doing a pretty amazing adaptation of this story that’s serious and holds true to the book,” Hamby said.
Hamby said he asked his cast of 30 children “to stretch themselves as performers to be real people with real emotions.”
“Many of our kids have performed light comic roles or character parts, but they’ve had to really dig deep with this show,” he said.
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” tells the gripping story of a deformed bell ringer who isn’t accepted by the townspeople.
The relevance of the play couldn’t be any more perfect, as school bullying is at the forefront of discussions throughout the country, Hamby said.
“It’s truly about accepting and loving people for who they really are,” he said.
Camille Gribbons, a 16-year-old junior at Millennium High School, portrays tragic heroine Esmeralda. She said she’s touched by a scene between her character and the hunchback Quasimodo.
Quasimodo begs for water after being whipped by the townspeople and no one will give it to him but Esmeralda.
“This could speak to so many kids on a lot of levels that they need to do what’s right, even though people might think other ways,” Gribbons said.
Eric Zagar, 17, who plays Quasimodo, said the play touches upon how cruel society can be to people who are different.
“You really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and unfortunately some people are just cruel,” Zagar said. “It’s also important that beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder.”