John Dickerson is co-host of CBS this morning. He is also a Contributing Editor to The Atlantic and the host of the Whistlestop podcast and co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest.

Where Art Takes Place: Harry Potter Edition

Here I am on my favorite topic (which I’ve written about here and here) with Noma Dumezweni and Jamie Parker from “Harry Potter an the Cursed Child.”

 

JD: Noma tell me then– both of you weigh in on this. Where does a play take place? Is it you all creating this moment of revelation for people to watch or does it take place in a space where they are contributing to what is being created in front of them?

Noma: Oh, good question.

Jamie: It’s both. It’s both. It’s absolutely both. It’s, uh, yeah, a cyclical relationship. That’s why you do get — you, know not so much on this — but we’ve all been in plays where, if that relationship feels like a nonstarter, like I’ve done one play where the matinee on the wednesday was a full 11 minutes shorter than the Tuesday night the night before. Because the Tuesday night had been gold dust — you wanted to bottle that performance — come the next day we didn’t get a peep out of them from start to finish. And you just go–it just became this horrendous, nihilistic crisis  we all went through. My god!

Noma: We were magnificent last night!

Jamie: And you go, well, I’m not doing anything different. I’m saying the same lines in the same order in the same production. And it’s an entirely different experience.

Noma: For me though, going back to John’s question, there is a sense that in the rehearsal room, in the writer’s room, in the — there was a story being created. But absolutely, the moment when an audience hits, that’s when we’ll know whether we’re telling a story well or not. And that’s why I love previews. I love previews when you’re–before we open because that’s — the final element has come into the room. Now the communion of the theatre is happening and do they like the way we’re telling this story? What do we adjust? What can we make them feel? Because I’m sure John and Stephen, as the directors, they’re orchestrating this thing. And they get to see those productions–those previews–over and over and over again. I’m always fascinated by that, having directed. There’s a point that you stop seeing the thing. But you’ve got to start feeling the audience around you in order to know whether it’s working.

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