“Harry, there is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show them your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.” ~ John Tiffany
Confession time: I hate plays. Perhaps, I am not a true theatre lover because of that. I want music that includes singing. I want dancing. I want to be entertained. Plays, at least the ones I have seen, are more serious. The messages much more overt, with the players gesticulating with not much finesse. I prefer the subtle nuances hidden beneath choreography and music. While entertainment at its core is about meaning and statements, I do not want to feel like I am in a lecture being talked down to when I go to a show.
Again perhaps I just don’t have the inclination for it.
All this said, when I found out Harry Potter was coming to Broadway, I knew I had to see it despite my disdain for plays. In fact when it came out on the West End, I had been prepared to hop on a flight to London to see it.
Unlike these younguns who have come after me, I grew up with the magic of Harry Potter. Waiting for the books to come out. Dressing up. Spending hours discussing theories with friends. The incredible magic that captivated most of my childhood and then of course the poignancy, the coming of age along side Harry, and then the unthinkable happened in my life, and while I am not a witch, (bitter about not getting that letter Hogwarts) what happened to Harry took on a whole knew meaning for me. Not only that, but I also found comfort in much of JK Rowling’s writings, much of it with themes of love.
Thus I might hate plays, but I was seeing Cursed Child. I had even read the book. Which as a script, paled in comparison to JK Rowlings captivating prose. But I was still going!
I think I sold part of my soul (no joke) to get tickets. It was like skating in the Olympics, not physically strenuous, but mentally the nerves were screwing with me…except it was the computer. In November, I had to enter a lottery in the hopes I would get picked for another lottery (confused yet?) to get picked for another one. I then wasn’t told what day, until three days prior, and then the day of, I finally got my time slot.
Like I said, I sold my soul. At this rate they could give the CIA a run for their money with how complexly cloak and dagger it was. I understood that after Hamilton, they wanted to give people a fair chance to get tickets…
Except it still took me forty minutes to buy the freaking things when it was my turn. With-in seconds every date and time sold out finally I picked a random date in August and miracle of miracles I got tickets. It was the happiest day of my life…I kid…but it definitely felt like Christmas and despite the mental struggles I didn’t have to sell a kidney (just my soul) for a ticket. In act I almost fainted at how cheap they were!
After (literally, November people, November!) months of anticipation the day had (finally! It was August!) arrived. I had, had the option of doing two consecutive nights or making a day of it and I decided on the latter.
The Lyric Theatre is probably my favorite theatre and while I had walked past the marquis for the last year, I hadn’t realized they had renovated it. I had seen Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour a few years ago, and I was in love with the high ceilings and spacious multi level lobby. I hadn’t realized the extent of the (millions of dollars) renovations. The moment I walked in, it felt like I had been transported to Harry’s world. Everything from the paintings, to light fixtures to the carpet was Harry Potter-esque. It not only added to the atmosphere it helped to create a phenomenal journey that carried into the play.
The theatre opens an hour prior to the performance (unlike most shows which is a half hour before) I, of course got there early and I am so happy I did. Once through security, they had a huge shop full of merchandise I had to pick up some souvenirs. As a proud Ravenclaw, I got a t-shirt that rocked the emblem as well as some gifts for family and friends. I usually don;t buy theatre merchandise, but I had to practice restraint here!
“People say parenting is the hardest job in the world – they’re wrong – growing up is. We all just forget how hard it was.” John Tiffany,
For those who haven’t read the script, the play is broken up into two parts, with part one ending on a cliffhanger.
Side note I do not know how people can break it up, the moment Part One ended I was anxious for the next one to start. (we had to wait two hours.) It was THAT good! I legit felt like I was waiting for the next Harry Potter book in those two hours, which I kinda was.
Despite sitting in the balcony, I had a great view of the stage. From the moment the first chords played, we were swept up on a truly magical journey. While it wasn’t a musical, it certainly was not a play. With a gorgeous catchy score, (being released later this fall and I HOPE someone skates to it) it also had insane choreography that you would not expect to see in a play, but in a, musical. This WAS theatre in the truest sense of the word.
Up until now, I had no idea how powerful it was to see Harry Potter live. While the movies were another part of childhood, they didn’t invoke the magic that the books wrought and that now this play has brought. From the insane special effects, many that had me wondering how they did that, to the acting, I felt like I was a part of the world and not just an audience member.
As I watched the play unfold, I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like if all the books were made into plays. It was that powerful.
“You ask me, of all people, how to protect a boy in terrible danger? We cannot protect the young from harm. Pain must and will come.” John Tiffany,
While I knew how Part One would end, it was still shocking to see. I grabbed grub at Le Pain, before heading back to the theatre. Going full out because it is Harry Potter, (I think it is certain I will be broke if I ever go to the Wizarding World) I treated myself to frozen rosé and even got the souvenir cup.
Despite knowing what happened, I didn’t think Part II could be better, but it was. Insanely so. It was so incredibly powerful, that at one point the whole audience, myself included were in tears. The emotions these actors and this play wrought, is indescribable.
Harry Potter has always been in a league of its own, but this was magic at its core. I don’t know how these actors do this day after day, but they are so incredibly talented, and what they bring each day and night is something truly special and unique.
But then I wouldn’t expect anything less from the incredible world of Harry Potter and the brilliant mind of JK Rowling. In fact, Harry Potter might have just changed my opinion on plays. And I would see it again. Shocking, isn’t it? Or maybe it is just magic.
Have you seen Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Do you prefer plays or musicals?