Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two
by Jack Thorne
Lyric Theatre, New York, July 2 2018
There’s only so much I can tell you about this one because….well…
Keep The Secrets – maybe not so much in terms of plot, because it is published, but I’ll do that anyway.
Everything I have to say about this show can be related to at least one of these words. This was my second time at HPCC – the first time in London with the family. I’ve told enough people that I made a dumb mistake buying these tickets – I spent double what I thought I was spending and I humbly thank Lisa for not giving me a well deserved raking over the coals.
It was worth it though.
One of the nice things about this show is that you have different experiences in different parts of the theatre (again, can’t tell you exactly why, but trust me). As a singleton, I was able to pull a very sweet seat to this marathon. As in second row.
Here is the difference in view for London (top) and New York (bottom)
So, this is a show about magic. The second row allowed me to see things with a more critical eye. How did they do it? 90% of the magic and effects in this show are practical, not digital. By sitting close, I was able to figure out a couple of things, confirm my suspicions on a few others and am still completely dumbfounded on many others. Sitting this close wouldn’t really spoil anything important if you haven’t seen the show before. I knew what I was looking for. Having said that – 1 or 2 things are less effective from this close. All the magic happens in front of you – flying, dueling, transfiguration, poly-juice potion transformations, curses, and magical creatures – you name it, it’s there.
On Sunday – I get to attend a session on Stage Magic with some of the creative team as part of my design workshop with BTG.
I will say this. In terms of stage magic and mechanics as well as major story themes, this show is ruled by light and darkness. The magic here is very much in the shadows. The most complicated element of tech work here is lighting. This show relies on incredible dramatic and functional lighting. (side note: I was alarmed that many of the lights showed up on my list of available WiFi networks – imagine the chaos someone smarter than me could cause)
“Thank you for being my light in the darkness” – Scorpius Malfoy
There is real darkness in the play, an there is also the scarier figurative darkness of fear and loneliness – once again, friendship is the salvation for the main characters, those who keep us from the darkness. If you get the chance to go, listen for the many many references to darkness.
Time is the other major factor here. Literally of course – this is another marathon, 2 separate plays running 2 1/2 hours each. It’s long (but it flies by). The main focus of the play, however, is also time.
Mild spoilers ahead.
The only (nearly) constant set piece – and in fact the first thing you see upon taking your seat – is a clock. This is no accident. Through dreams, choices, and magic – this story takes place throughout and across time. It deals in inevitabilities, and destiny, and choices that we can’t or should not escape.
“It’s time that time-turning became a thing of the past.” – Scorpius Malfoy
These are great plays. I loved seeing the original cast (they came from London to open the show in Broadway). It isn’t like a Disney show – this is legitimate. It works for Harry Potter fans and theatre fans – bonus for you if. you are both.
This last picture leads me back to a quick mention of Steven Hoggett. This guy.
I mentioned him back on the Angels in America post. I’ve seen him described as a Choreographer, fight choreographer, and movement coordinator. He’s a genius. He brings physical movement into static scenes in a way that lifts a story to new heights. It isn’t dance – it’s story telling. And it’s everywhere in this play.
Last word then – go see this play. See it it NYC, or London, or soon in Melbourne or Sa Francisco. Save up, plan ahead (like – – a year ahead) and go. You won’t regret it.