Studio 1 digs deep for emotional ‘Hunchback’ production

Reviewed by Sabrina Otero
Times-News correspondent
teens20@thetimesnews.com

Adrian Cardwell, Rachel Teseneer and Elizabeth Steinbruegge star in Studio 1's "Hunchback of Notre Dame." / Sam Roberts, Times-News

The story begins when the audience notices three solemn gargoyles perched above. The trio, never speaking all at once, set the opening scene of Studio 1’s production of Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
   Shortly afterward, a woman appears late in the night leaving what seems to be a bundle of rags upon the church’s steps before scurrying away (making sure to be enclosed within the darkness not wanting to be spotted). Suddenly, the bundle begins to wail, making it quite apparent that these were no ordinary rags but instead a helpless infant. According to custom, an unwanted child would be adopted as some kind of penance of sorts if left on the steps. Unfortunately, those who come to inquire about the infant quickly exclaim with horror and flee, due to the deformities of the child.
   A priest (Marc Crespi) takes the infant in, deems him Quasimodo (Adrian Cardwell), and raises him. When the hunchback turns 10 years old, the priest puts him to work at the bell tower, which he (Quasimodo) loves. Ironically, it is this same work detail that results in the hunchback losing his hearing. It is in this very same tower that he befriends the gargoyles, which narrate the story, and it is here that he also starts observing those outside of the bell tower.
   When Quasimodo becomes an adult, he notices the festivities down below including “The Festival of Fools.” This event incites the hunchback to venture out in public for the first time in his adult life. Shortly after his arrival, he is dazzled by the dancing of Esmeralda (Elizabeth Steinbruegge), and takes a liking to her. He is also greeted with various drunken cheers from stumbling men and crowned the king of fools. Barely 24 hours later; however, the same people who honored with him the title of “king” are the very same who ridiculed him and now openly cheer for his possible execution.
   Get tickets today for this heart-wrenching show. Director Michael Williams cautioned that parents should be aware that this isn’t the Disney version. It may not be appropriate for young children, due to violent themes.
   Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Feb. 1-2 and 2 p.m. Sunday and Feb. 3 at Studio 1, 1332 Plaza Drive, Burlington. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased from a cast member or online at www.studio 1online.org. For more details, call (336) 534-0321.

 Sabrina Otero is a junior at Alamance-Burlington Middle College and a Teens & Twenties writer.

 

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