Excerpt from Hunchback of Notre Dame

Episode One

Dramatised by Alex Bulmer

Scene 1.

The Cathedral Walls. Exterior.

Sound of QUASIMODO climbing. We hear his breathing, and a grunt of exertion.

A ROOF top

QUASIMODO huffs and puffs and Then comes to a stand. Looks out over the city.

His is a soundless world.

As he looks out his mouth makes a smiling sound, through breath only.

He loves what he sees.

His tongue retracts, and prepares to speak.

QUASIMODO: Beau…

Ext.

(tries again)

Beautif…beautiful day.

Beautiful city.

My city. True glory

Brick on brick my people stand, disciples of time.

Good morning you towers, fathers of the sky, and good morning you sons, chimneys puffing.

Little river round you go.

Round you go.

You, Paris, my true friend.

Cut to outside world.

sound of a crow squawking on the roof.

QUASIMODO: Crow.

Ext.

the crow jumps near to QUASIMODO, along the ballisTrade

QUASIMODO: Welcome, to my lady of Paris.

Ext.

the crow squawks. then flies off

QUASIMODO: Fly!

Ext.

QUASIMODO: To fly like you.

Int.   Beyond my tower, beyond the bridge,

A place where secrets live.

And you know them, see them all.

QUASIMODO: Fly!

Ext.

The sky has no walls!

Scene 2.

Exterior. By the bridge. St. Martin

ESMERALDA runs toward the bridge.

It is near the poorest side of Paris where she and other Romanys live.

Beneath the bridge are two men. One sits hOLDing himself against the cOLD. He coughs. The other man lies dead in a pool of blood.

She runs down alongside the bridge toward the men, horse-blankets in her arms.

We hear the sound of her breathing: anxious. Stones crunch under her rapid pace. She slips.

ESMERALDA: (reacting to slipping)

MAN: You alright?

ESMERALDA: Slipped.

Sounds echo.

ESMERALDA: Here, I got two. One for you, one to put over your brother.

MAN: What’s a dead man need with a blanket?

ESMERALDA:  It’s about respect, Carlo.

(holding onto one end of blanket)

Here. Hold this end. You go to his feet.

MAN: He’s tall.

they move across the stones to each end of the body

ESMERALDA: Grabbed the biggest there was.

he moves. Stones crunch

MAN: (to the body) Shouldn’t be bloody lying here. You don’t deserve this.

ESMERALDA: Your brother was a kind man. Both of you, been looking out for me since we come… (sees how badly he’s been beaten) Oh…

MAN: Don’t look at his face. They kicked his bloody head in.

SCENE 3

Cut to Tower:

A distant sound of people.

QUASIMODO: People.

Ext.   Coming out to the day.

Little ants crawling, to the streets.

(laughs)

Move quickly,

(His breathing quickens. His lips smack)

More come, and more…

Masks on your faces, holding fire in the air.

I’ve seen this before.

(His breathing quickens)

Fools! Fools!

The Festival of Fools!

(RUNS)

Scene 4

Cut to:

Under the Bridge:

MAN: He wasn’t doing nothing. Three guys, said he’d run off with their money. Then kicked him, and kicked and kicked.

ESMERALDA: I’m sorry.

MAN: They wouldn’t stop.

Just laughed and kicked. He never did nothing. Honest. Nothing.

SCENE 5.

Cathedral. FROLLO’s cell

A loud knock:

QUASIMODO: Master! Master!

FROLLO: (opens the door) Quasimodo, did I not tell you I was busy for the morning.

QUASIMODO: Yes. All excited. Forgot.

FROLLO: What is it?

QUASIMODO: It’s sunny outside.

FROLLO: Well observed.

QUASIMODO: Think it will rain tomorrow.

FROLLO: What a pity.

QUASIMODO: We should get some fresh air.

FROLLO: Stand in the tower.

QUASIMODO: The Festival? The festival of fools.

FROLLO: What of it?

QUASIMODO: Today. Can we go?

FROLLO: No.

QUASIMODO: But you said we could.

FROLLO: I don’t recall.

QUASIMODO: Last year. Last year you said we go next year.

FROLLO: I’ve a sermon to finish.

QUASIMODO: When you finish.

FROLLO: I’ll need the day, sorry.

QUASIMODO: I want to dance, go round fire, with funny face.

FROLLO: I’ll get you a festival mask at the end of the day.

QUASIMODO: Don’t want another stupid mask. I want…

FROLLO: We are not going to the festival!

QUASIMODO: Why?

FROLLO: Sinners and demons have entered the city, infecting the people.

QUASIMODO: Sinners and…

FROLLO: Demons. They come from foreign places, infested wombs. Brainwashing our people, determined to bring grave destruction to our city, to Notre Dame.

QUASIMODO: Be not afraid. Good will rise over evil.

FROLLO: Sometimes we must fear.

QUASIMODO: There is nothing to fear. God will protect us.

FROLLO: God can’t do everything!

Son, there are times Man must fear, and when we do, Man must take appropriate action, on God’s behalf.

QUASIMODO: Appropriate action?

FROLLO: Stay inside the Cathedral. That is where you are safe, and that is where you are useful.

I’ll tell you when we will next go outside.

QUASIMODO: When will that be?

FROLLO:  Once the King has the intruders dismissed.

QUASIMODO: Then we go to the festival?

FROLLO: (FIST ON TABLE) No more questions and no more festival!!

Quasimodo is silenced

FROLLO: Now, It’s nearly bell time.

Which will be your favourite this morning?

QUASIMODO: Marie. Always Marie.

FROLLO: I’m proud of you. You have no need for the outside world. Go.

Sound of QUASIMODO running.

QUASIMODO: Marie!!