I won’t beat around the proverbially bush, I don’t like Condamnés, not even a little. I will admit, I like somethings it does but on the whole, not a fan.
In the context of the show, Clopin has been told that Esmeralda has been arrested and will die if she is not saved. I took Clopin telling Gringoire not to tell him anymore as like a code for like leave it to me, I got this. I’m not sure why I thought this but that is how I took that exchange the first time I watched the musical. So Clopin then sings about how unfair the world is, again but this time it’s outside a jail and he gets arrested. So either that was his way of saving Esmeralda or he was just complaining, take your pick.
As a song, this is pretty much the same subject matter as Le Sans Papiers but more desperate and angry. The emotions are good but I don’t feel the show needed it has second song.
The big issue I have with the song is the dancing and the costumes. I mean dear god what are they wearing? Rain Gear and why white hooded shirts? Who thought that would be good? Clopin makes it work but on the dancers it looks dumb. And then there are the weird spazzy turing movement and flinging into the other dancers, I like it not.
If there was one thing that could have help this song it would have been the music but alas it really does nothing for me. I think the point of this number is because they needed something to fill in between Les Oiseaux qu’on met en Cage and Le Procés. And as a gap filler it does work and makes Clopin being saved later make sense but this song could have been so much better.
Le Procés (The Trial)
Le Procés is Esmeralda’s trial and Frollo is acting as the judge. Now I know what you might be thinking, why Frollo? That is a good question since really contextually it makes no sense that he would be running the trial as in the book he was just sort of there. However from a practical standpoint it is necessary as the show doesn’t have any extras for singing so they had to use Frollo in this capacity.
But how is the song? It’s great, it has a creepy yet sexy tone to it and Frollo adds great tension as he knows what happened but plays it like Esmeralda did it. The strong beats are also wonderful at adding drama in a short time frame.
I also like how Esmeralda while scared does stand up for herself, she throws it right back at Frollo that he looks like one who stabbed Phoebus and she has nothing to confess.
The part where Frollo and the disembodied chorus sings, She’s a witch, Foreigner, Gyspy and a non-believer, I used to have that as ring-tone. It was pretty awesome though I never answered my phone but I never really answer it anyway. But I really to love that part.
La Torture (The Torture)
La Torture is weird. Basically Frollo calls for the torture, Esmeralda’s foot in put in the vice and she confesses with basically “I love him, I confess” and that is it and the Frollo takes that as the confession and she sentenced to death.
I heard somewhere that according to Daniel Lavoie, original Frollo, that Frollo takes that confession with its wording because Frollo didn’t want to torture her, so her confession it was enough. And sure why not? Makes a level sense. But if you are just watching the show, it’s like huh?
As far as a song goes it serviceable for scene but there isn’t a lot to it.
I will say that that the original version and other versions are quite different in how the actual torture goes. In other versions Esmeralda is not in the huge cage for this scene though it is in the background. Instead she is tied up at the start of Le Procés. It seems like instead of the boot they tie something around her ankle and pull the two ropes in two opposition directions for the torture. It’s more dramatic than the boot but instead of compressing it’s pulling. Just a weird staging difference, I guess.
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