Music: Julien Salvia
Lyrics: Ludovic-Alexandre Vidal
Book: Ludovic-Alexandre Vidal & Julien Salvia
Adapted from Victor Hugo's novel.
English Adaptation of Book & Lyrics:
England. End of the 17th century.
Mutilated at birth by the Comprachicos (child-buyers), the young Gwynplaine is abandoned by them on a beach eight years later. As the boy is roaming in the frosty cold, he rescues a newborn baby girl who is embraced in the arms of her dead mother. They find refuge with a boorish and solitary carny, Ursus. Ursus discovers the mutilations of Gwynplaine which confer him a permanent smile, as well as the blindness of the infant girl, whose eyes were burned by the cold. At the same moment, while the ship of the Comprachicos is sinking, they throw a message into the sea.
Eighteen years later, Ursus has put on an Act which plays on the contrasts between the infirmity of his son and the delicacy of his daughter, whom he baptized Dea.
Over the years, the show has made the fame of this small family in England. Meanwhile, Gwynplaine and Dea have fallen deeply in love. They both dream of a life of happiness under the sky of London.
At the same moment, Barkilphedro, Queen Anne’s jester and spy, discovers the message of the Comprachicos. This message reveals the real identity of the one whom everybody calls " The Man Who Laughs" as well as the reasons of his mutilations.
Secret reasons which are going to plunge Gwynplaine into the Royal Court of England and lead him to the House of Lords, while, on the other side of the city, Dea, convinced of the death of her beloved one, is slowly letting herself die…
2008 : Paris Musicals Festival, Vingtième Théâtre (250 seats)