The original West End and current Broadway cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child doesn’t do a ton of press, but the seven main actors were on stage at today’s New York Comic Con to talk about the next chapter in the Harry Potter story.
“I was just sort of taking the next job, to be honest,” said Jamie Parker (Harry Potter himself) of his relationship to the story when he got the role. Parker only read the books after getting the part, but is now on his seventh re-read. The Cursed Child show schedule keeps Parker from being home for his son’s bedtime, so Parker takes 20 minutes every day to recording himself reading aloud from the books for his son.
“[I] fell in love with it and now I’ve gone sort of native,” said Parker of his relationship to the story now. For the actor and fan, the Harry Potter story truly isn’t complete without the exploration of Harry’s character as a 40-year-old parent forced to face his own painful childhood as he struggles to connect with his son Albus.
“The big question for me is whether he ever did get past his childhood,” said Parker. “He’s still running to save Sirius, to save Hermione, to save Tonks and the rest of the Fallen Fifty. I think it’s never left him. I remember finishing the books for the first time and getting to that last line ‘All is well,’ and being very suspicious of it. Because it leaves an awful lot of question marks and that, for me, is the need for this play. I think the loop isn’t complete until the last two lines of this play and, without it, you haven’t got a full myth.”
The focus of The Cursed Child is very much split between the adult characters—Harry, Ron, Ginny, Draco, and Hermione—and the kids—Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy.
“It’s about parenting, it’s about childhood, it’s about growing up,” said Noma Dumezweni (Hermione). “It’s about how you see yourself and your identity in relation to all those around you … [These kids] have to go through a journey because these grown-ups here are still going through their own journey.”
That parallel between kids and adults, and the realization that adulthood comes with its own set of difficulties that aren’t entirely unrelated to our childhoods and adolescenes is at the heart of The Cursed Child.
Poppy Miller, who plays Ginny, echoed Parker’s comments on how The Cursed Child works in conversation with the Harry Potter book series.
“[We’re] portraying this marriage of two people who were idealized, to an extent, in the books in the way that we can look back at those glorious days of teenage and go, ‘They’re magnificent. They’re heroic,'” said Miller. “And then life is actually a little bit harder than a literal battle. And we are struggling with the very ordinary things. Like: I fundamentally love you, but do I still want to be in the same room as you?”
“People will identity with that,” continued Miller, “people who have gone on that quest—not necessarily to be parents, but dealing with being an adult.”