By some crazy miracle, I was able to get tickets through an app here in London called TodayTix to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two! Tickets cost hundreds of pounds (like Hamilton) and all of a sudden the app opened up bundles to see both shows back to back for significantly cheaper, so my friend Charlie and I snatched them up in time and got to go! The two of us are HUGE Harry Potter fans and she was the perfect companion because of that.
The background on this show is that in 2016, a spin-off sequel to the series was published as a play with J. K. Rowling’s permission. At the time, I happened to be touring colleges on the East Coast after my summer program at Yale, and driving through a remote town in New Jersey (on the day it came out) I saw a copy of it displayed in a local shop owner’s window. I shrieked, yelled at my mom to stop the car, and she immediately pulled over. She and Talia were both angry with me for scaring them, but I was too excited, having waited a long time for the script to be released. When I explained, they knew I had to go buy the copy, so we went straight in and bought one. I remember being upset that I couldn’t read it right away in the car because I needed to pay attention to the areas that could potentially be my college town. I read it in an hour that night in our hotel, and absolutely hated it. From the die-hard Harry Potter fans I’ve talked to, I’m not alone. The plot had used so many recycled themes and ideas on top of circumstances that would never come to be in the first place. I was really disappointed and upset that people might take this sequel as chronological fact, because Rowling didn’t even write it. To me it was a media-glorified piece of fan fiction. Time goes by and it gets produced into a stage play, split into two shows meant to see consecutively in the same day or in two days (hence, Part 1 and Part 2) – with a ton of controversy surrounding the black actress who was cast to play Hermione – wins six Tony Awards in 2018 including Best Play, and I start to catch on just how much of a live spectacle the show is. In 2018, I no longer shunned the play but thought of it as an astounding piece of theatre. Fast forward to the present, and I pounce on tickets.
Last night Charlie and I walked over to the theatre, collected our tickets for both parts at the box office, and waited in line outside to have our bags searched, our bodies scanned, and our tickets checked in order to enter the premises. Once we got inside, all the ushers had on their house scarves and lanyards, and kindly directed us to our amazing seats! They were right in the center in the balcony. The show was absolutely astonishing; the magic presented on stage had our jaws dropped to the floor, both of us wanting to grab the other in our excitement of what we were seeing. It was about two hours long with an intermission (where I bought ice cream and a show sweatshirt, of course), and the end of Part One left off with some thrilling feats of tech and a cliffhanger. We left absolutely giddy, I was full of adrenaline and Charlie was in tears, and made our way back to the flat. Part Two tonight was just as incredible, but I had to go without Charlie because it was her dad’s birthday and they flew out to be with her. She was sad at not being able to go, but it looks like she’ll be able to get a ticket to just the second half soon, so it will all work out! After the performance, the cast bowed six times before exiting, and my brain went on high alert to get to the stage door as soon as possible. I put on my coat and grabbed my purse, and started to make my way down this gorgeous grand staircase when it happened. I fell. Skillfully, as it turned out, but I fell. My foot slipped from not being able to see the stair very well, and so I slipped down onto my left leg and started sliding down the staircase; I was gaining speed pretty fast and needed to stop, so I flipped myself completely over and grabbed the stairs to stop myself. So, I went from standing, to sliding, to staring my threat right in the face. About four inches away. I must say, it was pretty smooth. I have pretty good reflexes and by now I’m used to falling over. I was lucky that there was no one directly in front of me or I would have completely taken them out, too; as it was, everyone around me froze in horror and immediately tried to help, asking if I was okay. Honestly, I think they were just shocked I was able to stop myself. With the adrenaline in trying to get to the stage door, I stood up, said “oh, I’ve had worse,” and ran out of the theatre. I mean, it’s true! That left people speechless a second time because I was so nonchalant about the whole incident. As I’m finding out now, the bruise is going to be pretty bad; it already hurts a lot to walk, so yet again my left side has been beaten up.
At the stage door, I got very lucky. Some actors came out to a small crowd of around 25 people, which is not at all what I was expecting; I think it’s because most people were tourists and they don’t know to come to the stage door. Four actors came out, including my favorite! He played Scorpius (Draco Malfoy’s son), and I got to talk to him for a few minutes, get a picture (and a hug!), and have him sign my program. He’s fresh out of drama school, so it was really awesome to meet someone who’s one step ahead of where I dream to be, not to mention humble. I left feeling giddy with all of their signatures and thanks for seeing the show, and I’ll remember this as one of my fondest memories from London. I still don’t agree with the script, but seeing it live was one of the most incredible stage marvels I’ve ever experienced, and I view it as a fun spin-off rather than cold hard fact. I would highly recommend this show to any Harry Potter fan, but the more you know about the series, the more things you’ll catch! Everything except a Snitch, that is.