Tales of Adequacy and the Rehearsal Edition Script!
It bugs me that this won’t post in the site’s calendar as the “Monday” post, but when you are trying to be topical, sometimes it is tough to make the deadline. Also…I was making a concerted effort to not generate stress over the deadline, which is very, very important.
Today’s post is pretty relevant to my business as an English teacher, and also as someone who has a genuine love for reading and books in general. At midnight, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” was available for purchase, and legions of Hogwarts fans rejoiced. As usual for one of Rowling’s releases, the book had people eagerly awaiting it, to say the least.
Which is interesting. In the first few articles that I read, there was a large amount of fan negativity, because they felt that they hadn’t gotten what they wanted. There were some complaint driven reviews about it being a script for a play, and not a “book”, and further complaints that it was based on a story/outline by J.K. Rowling, but not actually written by her. I would generally consider these to be fairly legitimate complaints except…
Those facts have been known for a long time, and are clearly WRITTEN ON THE COVER.
So…I found the initial round of “reviews” a bit frustrating. I also decided to consider them all pretty suspect, if that was the main complaints set. Should I take any further criticism of the story within the cover very seriously when the reviewer apparently had trouble with reading and interpreting the cover? I think perhaps not.
the play itself opened in London, to huge hype, and has been sold out for ages, and well into the future. The publication of the script has allowed the play to reach a wider global audience of fans unable to see the sold-out show…including the vast marketplace of the United States.
More legit critics complained reading the script was an “incomplete experience” as the story “demands to be seen”….which I can accept pretty solidly, because I feel the same way about Shakespeare’s plays. Reading plays is just not the intended format of consumption for the work, and takes something away from them.
One added it was “lacking the richness that acting and staging would add”. I’m guessing that this is the “something” that I’m talking about…with no background in drama or theatre, I can only point the the very tangible reality that the medium of the play is intended for performance, not solitary reading.
Aside from that, however, was the story good? That’s a tricky question. It takes place 19 years later, but goes back in time (with a magic time machine) to the time frames of the story, and thus, to Hogwarts. A big part of the reason that I liked books Five and Seven is that they take some serious effort at showing the world outside of Hogwarts, which after seven books, I’m a bit jaded about. Having the cast be adults allows them to have adult problems, which we haven’t seen that much of in the series, and would have been compelling.
Instead of doing that, the script written by Jack Thorne focuses on Harry and Draco Malfoy’s sons – Albus and Scorpius – who travel back in time and set off a domino effect of consequences that radically change the present. It also changes the mechanics of how the Time Turner, previously seen in the series of novels, functions in the first place. That kind of inconsistency bugs me when it happens.
It’s the time travel element that generated the Hollywood Reporter’s negative review of the book, saying: “The big problem is The Cursed Child is less an original story than a remix of the existing Potter mythology. The been there, done that feeling to the whole thing is its greatest weakness.” They basically called it a “clip show” in play form, which is pretty rough.
Unhappy fans have claimed the story reads more like fan-fiction than a story written by Rowling; some have argued the story can’t be read as “canon” due to it being co-authored with John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, while Pottermore (Rowling’s Website) claims it is canon due to Rowling overseeing the project.
Before critics were able to express their disappointment with the story, J.K. Rowling announced that Cursed Child would indeed be the last part of Harry Potter’s story, telling reporters: “Harry is done.”
Obviously, I have yet to read the work…it’s sitting on my Kindle desktop, currently transcended by Marvel Puzzle Quest. A person needs priorities, after all.
The art was fun to draw, and involved, obviously, keeping the Casablanca Suit for at least another day. It seemed like the play might be fancy, and everyone in Rowling’s Wizarding World seems to dress pretty decently, so I went with it. The spotlight was a real hassle, as well as the shadows that are being cast. All in all, though, I’m happy with the end result.