Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame isn’t really appropriate source material for a children’s animated film, but both the Disney movie and subsequent musical version did teach a valuable lesson about how wrong it is to be cruel toward people who are different. My first time in Theater des Westens I was a porcelain doll who was wearing the mask of the angry man. Before discovering the World of Quasimodo and Esmeralda on stage, I was living the classic inner conflict of someone who is scared of their own emotions. When I was a child, people used to tell me that strong men don’t cry, but to keep the tears inside was always painful for me. In just a few hours, the musical in two acts destroyed my porcelain soul, fragmenting it into thousands of pieces that I decided to share with you in this blog post. Thank you David Jacobs, Sarah Bowden, Felix Martin, Maximilian Mann, Jens Janke, Kristina Love and ORSO Choral Society Berlin.
“A prayer for something better is the one thing we all share”
The Hunchback of Notre Dame de Paris is the mirror of a society full archetypes: Quasimodo is a deformed and ugly boy, Frollo is a man who shouldn’t become a priest, Phoebus represents the materialistic justice and Esmeralda is the sexy gypsy who could become an incredible therapist if only she had the money for studying. At the same time, all characters are deviants who cannot find justice on Earth. Although diversity is the most obvious drama, the core of the musical is the spiritual journey. Through adventures, conflicts and trips, the characters find out their own truth: God. The death of the four characters at the end is a pure moment of transformation and acceptation: the most emotional I have even seen on stage. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an incredibly relevant musical because the society in which we live is still full of hate against minorities. Diversity is not fully integrated and accepted and ideologies exploit social groups to create fake enemies in order to get votes. This musical made me think that injustices exist because we think that “world” is a synonym of “community”or “society.” The world is basically a pure creation, naturalness and spontaneity: to be more precise, it is the most powerful intellectual and artistic explosion ever imagined and conceived. World is God! Society, instead, is a community of different minds, a product full of laws and artifices that control human instincts in order to live civilly in more social groups. Anyway, a society without naturalness is like a body without a soul.
To find the courage to start a journey, you need to be inspired by someone else
If empathy will save the world, artists are the only ones who can achieve this goal thanks to their creativity and journeys. A true artist today doesn’t only need skills to be successful, but most importantly to have a message. Dance, music and all arts are pure instruments of something more important. In other words, “why you do something” is the core of the success. When I went to see the Hunchback, I came across a rare pure artist. I am talking about the American singer and actress Kristina Love, who it has just been announced will play Tina Turner in the new production in Hamburg. Kristina is kind and I perceived that before she talked or sang. Looking at her eyes, I felt she was not a product or a role. In her voice, everything was confirmed: she is the singer with an authentic personality. When in Berlin, I went to her concert. I was really impressed! During the event she talked about her spirituality and the dialogue with God in such a simply way that it made me think that any beautiful thing can happen if only we share our emotions. Kristina is an inspiration and the confirmation of my motto: “adventure is out there if you take a risk.” To be who she really is, Kristina left the Unites Stated to follow her dreams in Europe. If she didn’t make this decision and I didn’t decide to leave Italy to go to Germany, I couldn’t write this blogpost today with the consciousness that the world needs authentic and genuine talents. One day, change will come thanks to artists like these.