Thursday, July 28, 2016

Being A Bond Girl

There was only one problem during the full day's intermission between part one and two of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child... What to do with myself to distract from the tenterhooks of wonder and anticipation. My answer? A speedboat tour on the Thames! I have been to London so many times, I am always looking for new and interesting things to discover in this metropolis. Since I recently realized that I had never before done a boat tour around town, I investigated my options and discovered the new and thrilling speedboat phenomenon.

Through the Underground of London, I made my way to Westminster and walked over to the London Eye. Despite being a constant tourist as I travel around the globe, I can't help but continue to loathe certain areas of big cities. I ended up going past the giant ferris wheel's entrance three or four times in pursuit of the boarding gate for the boat, tirelessly plowing through herds of selfie sticks and iPhones and various touristic sundry. This was just about when my espionage skills began to kick in.

Since I almost missed the boat due to my jam-packed wanderings, I was practically thrown into my life preserver and stunt doubled onto the small vessel. Our guide introduced himself, though I mainly envisaged Daniel Craig's face on his, and explained the safety precautions before we were on our way.

It ended up being pretty amazing. I was treated to a few leagues (or probably a third of a nautical mile, but it just sounds more impressive) of informational chit chat by the Mr. Craig before we were brought out to the open seas! Aka less restricted river area. With the wind blowing, the engine roaring, and the British pop music blaring in the background, I couldn't help but imagine a surly foreign double-agent barreling behind us as I almost but not quite fell over the side of the boat, saved only by the manly spy hands of James Bond and his quick-witted reflexes.

Despite the rather unflattering life preserver draped over my unseasonable layers of casual clothing, I felt certain that, had I been costumed in a red sequin gown and/or adventure-wear strategically cropped and slashed in appropriately sexy places, I would in fact pass for a Bond girl. Even still, my overlarge sunglasses, blonde hair, winning smile, and sassy wiles pretty much got me there anyway.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Harry Potter Is My Soulmate

Harry Potter is my soulmate... And so, when J.K. Rowling announced that her new installment of Harry Potter, in the form of a full-length, two part, West End play, was going to be happening whilst I lived in Europe, the resounding no-brainer became abundantly clear. My dear Hot Blonde Cousin living in London sat at her work computer for hours in an online queue last September to secure us preview tickets, despite the fact that she herself has never been a Potter fan (something I can't at all fathom but try daily to forgive). Finally, months and months and MONTHS later, the curtain rose... twice.

I ventured to London on a Thursday afternoon, bedecked in my Hogwarts scarf, and Facebook checked into King's Cross Station. Technically, the Eurostar arrives in St. Pancras, which is also the superior looking building in my opinion, but aesthetics and reality be damned! I was on my way to Platform 9 and 3/4 no matter the cost. After spending a few hours grabbing lunch and dropping bags at my cousin's apartment, she and I met in central London for dinner before the show. In fact, I had to pick up our coveted tickets at the box office, which is when I caught my first glimpse of the theatre's facade. Rarely have I seen such a fantastic exterior. I took requisite pictures both evenings of the event just to be sure I had a sufficient shot. 

After getting through security check (something I have noticed is more thorough every time I go to the theatre these days), we found our randomly assigned seats, which turned out to be spectacular: a bit off to the side but front mezzanine with a clear shot of the stage. And for a show so chock full of magical stage effects, it was near perfection. Now, I won't say much about the show itself, as this is not a review by any stretch, but when the curtain fell after the first night's performance, I was in heaven. As we walked out of the theatre, we were all handed complimentary pins embossed with #KeepTheSecrets . We had been inducted into the magical world of wizards and no mere muggle would be giving us away.

For most of the next day I was on tenterhooks to see what the outcome would be before I could prepare for round two of Potterdom. The second night we sat in our same cozy seats, making it feel like it was OUR theatre with OUR friends surrounding us (she said with a nostalgic haze of movie magic around her face). But seriously, the show was, for lack of a better word, UNREAL. It definitely requires Harry Potter knowledge to truly appreciate the story and script, but even if you aren't prepared with the appropriate wizarding world education, the staging and effects make up for it. 

As I have said to many people since then, and without giving any of the secrets away (unbreakable vow), the stage magic somehow seemed more real than the movie magic. In films, you expect CGI, cinematographic and editing marvels, but to see an actor vanish from the stage in what seems a mere millisecond is truly astounding. By the end of the two performances, I had to hold myself back from wingardium leviosa-ing myself into Mr. Potter's arms. All hail J.K. Rowling. All hail the theatre. All hail soul-love.