Louise’s Pre-Cursed Child Post: Anticipation, Head-scratching, and Curry.

It’s Cursed Child Eve for this Hogpro faculty member, as, almost exactly a year after I snagged tickets to the Broadway production, I caught the train to NYC from Charlottesville for the big show. I opted for the one day version, so Parts I and 2 are both tomorrow. A long day of theater-going, to be sure!

Headmaster John asked me to write up both pre- and post-performance productions. Confession time… while I read the script through twice when it was published in July 2016, I intentionally have not picked it up since, knowing that I would someday see the play and wanting as fresh a take as possible.  In a perfect world, I would have seen the play before reading the script, but, I couldn’t wait three years. Thus, while John insists he would have read the play multiple times in the weeks before the show, so as to best be on alert for any changes, I took the opposite approach.

I did, however, re-read the previous posts I had written about the script (here, here and here), as well as listen to the MuggleNet Academia episode I recorded on the topic. Another must-read was Elizabeth Baird-Hardy’s brilliant essay of the Oedipal connections to the script.  So, if you want to know my thoughts on the script itself prior to the show, you can go there. 

In the absence of fresh script thoughts, I will share a bit of my Cursed Child Eve festivities in the Big Apple. We arrived in mid-afternoon, just in time to check out our decidedly “cozy” hotel and do a little sight-seeing. After a stroll by the Empire State Building, we visited the NYC Public Library, which turned out to be a great place for getting into the Potter spirit. Not only are there awesome lions– that’s the very Gryffindorly-named Fortitude, above– there was an entire display of Harry Potter material in the library gift shop, including, of course, the Cursed Child script. 

Then, we walked over to the Lyric Theater itself, where the show will start at 1 PM tomorrow.  The gift shop there was open as well, and my husband requested I visit today, before I got overly intoxicated by either the production itself or the drink to which our Headmaster has promised to treat me. As it turned out, his fears that I would go crazy in that retail establishment were groundless.  I noticed on the picture of the house banners outside the theater that a couple of the House color schemes were off. Gryffindor and Slytherin were OK, but Hufflepuff was a light gold, almost beige, paired with a muddy brown. rather than the yellow and black of the series. Ravenclaw, already corrupted from the books’ blue-and-bronze to the blue-and-grey of the movie merchandise, was even worse: a royal blue paired with a sky blue. (Bleah!) As you can see in the photo, the faulty color scheme was repeated in the t-shirts, ties and scarves sold in the theater souvenir shop. This pretty much kills any chance I will add to my Ravenclaw swag collection here.  

On top of that, a lot of the key-chains, pens, etc. carried the slogan “The 8th Story, 19 Years Later.”  If you perused the posts and podcasts, you know I think it was a mistake to marked this as the “8th book” in the series, since it clearly is not. The opening dialogue on Platform 9 3/4 does not match either the book’s or the film’s; where Harry is clearly shown to have a loving relationship with Albus Severus and be OK with him being a Slytherin. That fundamental precept must be changed if the Cursed Child storyline is going to exist. For that reason, I belong to the camp that rejects the play as canon, and considers it a fan-fiction adjunct, albeit the best type, the kind that gets the approval of the Author Herself. So, while I am greatly looking forward to the theatrical spectacle tomorrow, I think I will let my “Best Play” flyer, above, be my only souvenir. Unless that promised drink comes in a keepsake goblet or cauldron….

The final fun bit?  Our hotel is located directly over this awesome little take-out curry place, where we ate a delicious dinner after our touristing. It was enough to help me imagine being in London with Cormoran, Robin, Nick and Ilsa.

Back tomorrow with a review of the play itself!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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Cursed Child: Rowling Video Testimony

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on 25 November broke the Broadway record for biggest gross earnings in a week with $2.4 million taken in. The record the play broke was also held by Cursed Child in June of this year ($2.3 million). The interview highlights below, though filmed while Rowling was in New York to highlight the last Crimes of Grindelwald trailer’s release, was only published yesterday. It is, for the most part, pablum. You can read the transcript of the interview highlights here.

Rowling was much more forthcoming in an interview she did with her Cursed Child collaborators last year. You can read the transcript of her September 2017 interview here.

Having only read the play, I’m not a fan of Cursed Child — it’s hard to accept, frankly, that it is a Potter story over which Rowling exercised more than veto power — except for the fact that it is bringing non-theater goers into Broadway and London theater seats. Potter Pundits I admire who have seen the play, though, have important things to say about it, much of it in admiration; four of them chatted with Katy McDaniel and me about the experience of Cursed Child on this ‘Reading, Writing, Rowling’ podcast.

Reading, Writing, Rowling Episode 12: Serious Readers Talk About Cursed Child Performances in NYC, London

“Reading, Writing Rowling” Episode 11: “Experiencing The Cursed Child: London and New York”

A Great Conversation with Potter Pundits who have seen ‘Cursed Child’ on stage in London and New York City!

From the MuggleNet.com Page About the Podcast:

Whether or not you think it’s canon, seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child offers a unique Harry Potter experience. Readers of the script were often disappointed, but those who attend the play rave about it. Are you curious about how Harry Potter aficionados responded to seeing the play?

On this episode, John and Katy interview guests who have seen Harry Potter and the Cursed Child either in London or in New York. Dolores Gordon-Smith (author of the Jack Haldean mysteries) and her daughter Elspeth Gordon-Smith (film studies graduate and primary school teacher) saw the play with the original cast in London, while Tracy Bealer (Borough of Manhattan Community College) and Heidi Tandy (FictionAlley and Organization for Transformative Works) have recently seen the Broadway version. We talk about their impressions of the play as a literary event and a fan experience. We’ll hear about their favorite characters, scenes, and special effects and reasons Harry Potter fans will want to go see this play – but also critiques of the story and the interpretation of our beloved wizarding world characters. Come along for impressions and analyses that will whet your appetite for your own experience with the play or allow you to live vicariously through those who’ve had a chance to see the show.

Why should you care about a story Rowling didn’t write? Here are a few urls to catch you up on a play that is taking over the world —

I hope you enjoy learning about what serious readers think of ‘Cursed Child’ as much I enjoyed speaking with them (and having my misconceptions corrected!). Let me know what you think in the comment boxes below!

Voldemort, Delphini, and Oedipus: Complex Folks and Cursed Children

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 07:  A general view of The Palace Theatre as previews start today for "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" on June 7, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. The play has a sold out run until May 2017 with fans expected to fly to London from all over the world to see it.  (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)

As we continue our thoughts on the recently released rehearsal script of The Cursed Child, one of the big questions early on was the identity of the titular child, but there is really more than one cursed child in the story. In fact, some of the most fascinating elements of the play tie in with one of the most unfortunate children (and adults) in all of literature, Sophocles’ Oedipus; Voldemort’s story already has powerful overtones from that of Oedipus, and this tale continues that trend, with subtle, and not-so-subtle, reminders that He-With-No-Nose and He-with-the-Swollen-Foot are both prophecy-haunted products of broken families whose harmful choices ripple outward to damage all those around them, right up to the blue-haired gal in the new play. (Fair warning, spoilers galore)

 

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