If you’ve ever met me or follow me on social media or have me as a friend on Facebook, you know that if there is one thing I am obsessed with passionate about, it’s Harry Potter.
Gemma Pecorini Goodall // [smiths]
My obsession with Harry Potter has long been documented. That’s me, around 8, with my brother, enthralled.
I fucking love Harry Potter. With my entire heart and soul. I’ve done the 19-hour film marathon twice and have read (and listened to – God bless you Stephen Fry) the Harry Potter books numerous times throughout my life. So you can only imagine the joy I felt when I discovered that I would be in London when Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would open. I was even more exhilarated when I found out that I was able to get tickets to the third preview of Parts 1 and 2 back in May and that I was going to FINALLY see the eighth Potter story.
So here is a blow by blow of the magical rollercoaster that are your emotions when you’re off to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
I got to the theatre, shiny yellow and black ticket in hand, and joined the massive queue outside the Palace Theatre (FYI, the queue rivals the one at US Border control). You just stand there with people in their robes, brandishing wands, everyone showing their love for Harry Potter in their own way.
The queue doesn’t seem to move, which is when I started to get all flustered, little butterflies flying around in my stomach. I began chatting loudly with my mum and friends about the theories we had and what we wanted to get out of the show. ‘Who is the cursed child?’ ‘How do they do the magic?’ ‘What will the costumes be like?’
The queue finally starts to move and I leapt with joy, inching closer and closer to the entrance of the theatre.
I got to the front of the the theatre and walked towards the security (yes, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is important enough to have security) and started to panic that I had something I wasn’t meant to have in my bag (although I triple checked.) I came to the conclusion that, for JK Rowling and JK Rowling alone, I would be absolutely fine with binning my bag if that is what it came to.
I finally made it inside the theatre and was in complete awe as I browsed the merchandise. I almost cried over the prices of the merch and realised that I could only afford the show’s programme (since the tickets were already expensive enough.)
I avoided the bar at all costs while waiting for the doors to open, knowing that if I got something to drink I might need to pee half way through the most important part of the year.
I milled around until finally the doors open and I was ushered in. I found my seat and marveled and the dimly lit stage in front of me. I stopped to wonder whether they would actually do something to me if I took a picture but before I could make up my mind I saw an usher walk over to someone whose flash just went off asked them to delete the picture. It’s best not to risk it.
AND THEN IT IS TIME. I don’t want to ruin anything but let’s just say it was amazing. Imagine sitting in a room, filled with other people who share your same
obsession passion. There’s audible gasps and laughs and tears. All in all it looks something like this:
If, like me, you grew up with these novels and the films and the fantastical world created by JK Rowling, I can’t even begin to describe how emotional an experience it is. Being there surrounded by people who’ve also been waiting 9 years for news on what the trio and their offspring is up to (Pottermore is great but doesn’t answer the hard hitting questions) is half cathartic and 100% exhilarating.
I think that was one of the beautiful things about the show. Growing up, the theatre was always some place real adults and old people went. It was this serious thing that sometimes us kids would be honoured to attend. But that is not the case with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. What was beautiful was seeing the sea of millennials that had definitely saved their loose pub change to get a ticket. They were accompanied by the parents who had read them the books as a child and the siblings who they passed their love for Harry Potter on to. There is this sort of mutual understanding with everyone in the theatre where you just kind of look at each other as if to say ‘I totally get you and I won’t judge the fact you’re wearing a Harry Potter t-shirt with a time-turner, house scarf, scar drawn on you head and a grin that makes you border on sociopath.’
Having the show split over two nights also means you meet up with your same cohort for Part 2 (during the previews at least). And you just welcome them back into this hellish landscape of emotions.
It’s a rollercoaster and, for a die hard fan like myself, the closest thing to a religious experience I think anyone with my sceptic heart could ever experience.
We were then ushered out of the theatre and are handed these #KeepTheSecrets pins (don’t worry Jo. I got you.)
The most excruciating part was definitely waiting for Part 2.
So I tried to remember how I managed to wait so patiently between Harry Potter book releases and feel very pathetic over the complete lack of will power I seem to muster. During previews, Parts 1 and 2 are separated over two different nights. However, once the play begins officially you’ll be able to see both parts on the same day (oh, how I envy you).
The worst was being able to shut up about it. I would run away from anyone who asked how the play is, wanting nothing more than to talk about it until my throat was dry but knowing that I promised her Royal Majesty Queen Jo that I wouldn’t reveal anything to anyone.
As painful as the wait was it made the prospect of Part 2 even more exciting. I got to relive the excitement and joy I felt before seeing Part 1. I also totally understand why they separated the play into two parts, it would have been emotionally draining to see both back to back.
Part 2 was as emotional, if not more so, than Part 1 and by the time it was over the only thing I could think about was going and seeing it all over again (even though its basically all sold out).
So I got home, and finally managed to go on Tumblr without the fear of spoilers being dragged around my dash and I gush ed (spoiler free!) to everyone who would listen to me about how amazing and cathartic and perfect it all was.
I took to Twitter in the hopes that 140 characters would keep me from revealing anything about the play.
— Gemma Pecorini (@gempecorini) June 15, 2016
And I highkey died when Noma Dumezweni (a.k.a Hermione) and Anthony Boyle (a.k.a Scorpius Malfoy) liked my tweet.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opens officially on July 30th at London’s Palace Theatre. You can find out more information on tickets, times and spoiler free sneak peeks at www.harrypottertheplay.com.
Stay tuned on smithsmagazine.co.uk for a full review on Parts 1 and 2 in August.