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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child preview: Fans 'keep the secrets' but can't hide joy

Durga M Sengupta | Updated on: 7 June 2016, 23:46 IST

Most kids who grew up in the nineties hate Londoners right now.

Well, at least the ones who don't have tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the eighth installment in the Potter series, albeit on stage.

To be premiered first on 30 July, a strategic day - the one before Harry Potter and JK Rowling's shared birthday - the two-part play is fully booked, and has been so for a long, long while now. In fact, within 24 hours of booking, when it opened on 30 October, 2015, a whistle-worthy 175,000 tickets were sold. Pottermania has ensured that the play runs till 27 May, 2017, as of now. We're sure the dates will get pushed farther.

(^That's what broke the internet, guys. Not Kim K's butt.)But before the world completely loses its marbles over the play, director John Tiffany has ensured a preview for Part I on 7 June for an audience of 1,500 at the Palace Theatre in London. The play, penned by Jack Thorne, picks up from where the books left off - 19 years after the battle at Hogwarts.

But before the world completely loses its marbles over the Harry Potter play, director John Tiffany has ensured a preview for Part I on 7 June for an audience of 1,500 at the Palace Theatre in London. The play, penned by Jack Thorne, picks up from where the books left off, 19 years after the battle at Hogwarts.

This, of course, left the audience completely spellbound. So spellbound that nobody seemed particularly perturbed by a stray owl that refused to return to the handler and just flew about.

Some were so thrilled at the Harry Potter world on stage that they wished for more plays.

As Julia from Milar told BBC, "It was really cool. I wish they would do all seven books in the theatre." Now wouldn't that be something?

Here are some more reactions from the Pottercrazy:

It's here it's here!! ⚡️

A photo posted by Sarah Beth Falbe (@sbf50) on

And faithful to magic, all muggles who view this spectacle are expected to keep the secret. And they promise they will.

A shared secret

As JK Rowling says in this video preview to the preview, "You've been amazing for years at keeping Harry Potter secrets so you didn't spoil the books for readers who came after you."

"So I'm asking you one more time to keep the secrets and let audiences enjoy Cursed Child with all the surprises that we've built into the story."

If you're not dying of warm gooey feels already, we suggest a quick re-read of the 7 books that shaped a whole generation.

The two-part play by Thorne has been written in collaboration with Rowling and Tiffany. It features a cast of more than 30 super lucky actors. Super lucky, not because we're doubting their talent in the least, but because here's a play that's predestined to go global, and there really couldn't be more scope for exposure. Not even for Daniel Radcliffe naked on stage in Equus.

As The Guardian puts it, "It won't matter in the slightest what the critics say by the time they pronounce after the official opening on 30 July: social media will be giving the thumbs up or down this week, as audiences respond to the first previews."

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The synopsis

Pottermore is often the favourite destination for Potterheads to reminisce about the days they spent not receiving their Hogwarts acceptance letters. What makes it amazing though is how often one is surprised by an update on it, from none other than Rowling herself.

So when she put out the synopsis for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child up on the website on 23 October, 2015, it meant a whole generation screaming 'ACCIO TICKETS!' to no avail.

"It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn't much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children," the synopsis reads.

"While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places."

So there shall be more Harry from Order of the Phoenix-styled teenage angst. Fun.

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Managing two parts

A major challenge that the makers face with all this secret-keeping is that the internet loves spoilers. And with a two-part play that may just spell doom.

Never mind the logistical problem of ensuring that people watch the play in the right order, but imagine spoilers for the second part glaring at you from your Twitter feed while you're yet to get tickets to London, let alone the play.

One way to insulate yourself from this is to order the Special Rehearsal Edition script online (Yes, it's available on Amazon. You're welcome.) to wait till the book reaches you, read it at one go when it does, then expelliarmus away all your friends with threats of spoilers.

And you thought Game of Thrones spoilers were bad.

And Black Hermione

As we await the play, not all news coming from Potterland is hunky dory. Potter fans are an opinionated bunch, and they don't like things being changed too much. And, of course, racism doesn't help in this regard.

This time around, the plot revolves arounds Hermione Granger, that hyper enthusiastic girl who is way smarter than Harry or Ron Weasley could ever hope to be, is being played by a black woman on stage - Olivier-winning actress Noma Dumezweni.

This announcement didn't go down too well with many fans who saw this as a departure from their fair-skinned idea of Hermione. Because who cares about acting chops, right?

JK Rowling, fairly upset at the abundant racism, told the Observer, "With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot."

"But what can you say? That's the way the world is. Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job."

Interestingly, Rowling was also the first to point out that, in the books, Hermione's skin-colour was not specified. Not that it needs any justification.

Other than Noma, the major characters are played by Jamie Parker (Harry), Paul Thornley (Ron), Poppy Miller (Ginny), Alex Price (Draco), Anthony Boyle (Scorpius Malfoy), Cherrelle Skeete (Rose Weasley) and Sam Clemmett (Albus Potter).

Oh how I wish I could apparate.

First published: 7 June 2016, 23:46 IST
 
Durga M Sengupta @the_bongrel

Feminist and culturally displaced, Durga tries her best to live up to her overpowering name. She speaks four languages, by default, and has an unhealthy love for cheesy foods. Assistant Editor at Catch, Durga hopes to bring in a focus on gender politics and the role in plays in all our interactions.

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