My friend and fellow RA Naomi scored two free tickets to watch “The Cursed Child” on Broadway for me and our other friend and RA, Madison. Naomi’s aunt, Hatsumi, who is an actual angel, got the free tickets for all of us. It was a pretty good group of Harry Potter obsessed girls, seeing as how I read the books repeatedly as a kid, so she could not have bestowed these tickets on three more appreciative theater-goers.
The group ate some pizza next door and then we walked over to the theater that was decked out from floor to ceiling on each floor with some next-level Harry Potter-themed decorations that put any Halloween decorations you’ve ever had to shame.
The show is like a play and a magic show at the same time; you stare at the stage, transfixed, trying to figure out how they made the magic happen. There was levitation, spontaneous combustion, outfit changes that happened with the flick of a wrist, people transforming into other people, and people vanishing at a moment’s notice, all of which, I can only assume, was achieved with a rotating stage, a pool inside the stage, trapdoors, harnesses, and some very well coordinated stunts.
When I wasn’t trying to find the wires, I was noticing the sleekness of the show, how it was far more artistic than I had anticipated with neatly choreographed dance numbers and montages. The smoke and mirrors aside, it was a sensational play that was heartbreaking, heart wrenching, and heartwarming, and no I’m not being dramatic for describing a Harry Potter-based play like that.
I loved the show despite the fact that the main premise of the play was–swallows hard–time travel. Let me explain. Time travel is, objectively, the worst plot device. The characters go back in time to solve a problem, but then they come back to the present to realize that they ruined something seemingly unrelated and that they will have to right the wrong. Then comes the inevitable storyline where the characters have to go back in time a second time and undo all of the work they did the first time, so that none of it even happened in the first place. As an audience member, you have to keep it all straight in your head.
Then there’s the principle of time travel that makes it so awful. An existence with time travel is an existence with no history or tradition, in which anything is subject to change at any given moment, where each person on earth is like a puppet just waiting to be controlled. Everything would be precariously hanging in the balance at all times and that doesn’t seem to be a fun way to live…but I digress.
For a brief, non-spoilery summary of the play, just know that the story revolves around Harry’s son going to Hogwarts and becoming best friends with Malfoy’s son Scorpious, who is rumored to actually be the son of Voldemort. Scorpious Malfoy might be one of the greatest characters in the Harry Potter universe, which I do not say lightly. He definitely is the most precious.
For once the story gave the Harry Potter fandom some positive Slytherin representation. I take a lot of pride in my identity as a Slytherin, who, on Pottermore, are defined as being “cunning, ambitious, and proud.” That serves as an apt description of how I see myself up at college: lean and hungry in my pursuit of becoming the next great American novelist.
Their half-on, half-off British accents were particularly amusing, but otherwise I found the show to be surprisingly and appropriately funny. My reactions were apparently fun to watch, according to Naomi, as I obnoxiously reacted to everything, like when something would burst into flames on stage or when papers magically flew off a desk and into a neat stack and I just couldn’t seem to cope. I found myself utterly terrified and clutching the person next to me as a dementor floated over me and the room got cold. Never see a horror movie with me.
After the show, I bought a completely unnecessary Slytherin scarf and then headed home. There was so much to talk about since there was so much to process. The show in itself was an experience in the way that the set could actually ripple every time they went back in time and have words splashed across the entire theater appearing on cue when the lights went out.
Perhaps, it was not the most traditional side of playwriting with the bare bones set of an Ibsen play, but taking on a story about magic seems like a thankless task since their wands couldn’t shoot actual sparks. Yet it ended up being a big-budget play with a larger-than-life concept and a scale that was unheard of. I am so grateful for Naomi and her queen of an aunt Hatsumi.
Until my next Broadway experience…
The Tragic Queen,