In The Hunchback Variations, noted composer Ludwig Van Beethoven and noted hunchback Quasimodo team up to chair a panel on sound design. More specifically they are explaining their fruitless efforts to create the impossible cue: that baffling sound effect described at the end of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. The panel follows the pair’s frustrated efforts, complicated by the fact that they are both quite deaf.
Thematically, the play explores the creative impulse and the question of artistic endeavor. Is it a noble thing to continue to try in the face of inevitable failure or is it better to simply remain silent?