Seven Potter books in 70 minutes: Theatrical performance premiers

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As seen in the Nov. 26 issue

Marguerite Alberts, graphics editor

The Barclay Theatre at University of California Irvine had a full house when it hosted “Potted Potter,” a parody of all seven books of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, on Nov. 16.

For 70 minutes, ‘Potted Potter’ actors and creators, Daniel Clarkson and Jeff Turner, acted as many of the main characters in “Harry Potter” as they summarized each book. Turner acted as the ‘Harry Potter Expert’ while Clarkson pretended not to have read the books, thus adding humorous plot twists to the telling of each book.

Whether the audience members have read the books, seen the movies or have never heard of Harry Potter, they will enjoy seeing this two-man act. One of the great things about this performance is that Clarkson and Turner interact directly with the audience. Instead of the actors giving speeches about the books, they not only have conversations with each other, but they talk to the audience, thus creating a more welcoming vibe.

Because the actors use members from the audience as assistants, each show becomes specifically tailored to each audience, further adding to the interactive atmosphere. One of the funniest parts of the performance was during the ‘Quidditch World Cup’ from the fourth book, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Two members of the audience, a young boy and girl, were brought onto stage as the ‘seekers’ for the ‘snitch,’ which happened to be Turner dressed up in a large, round golden costume with a yellow hard hat on his head. It was hysterically funny to see the little boy, who played for the Gryffindor team, kick down Turner in order to catch the snitch. Afterwards, the little girl, seeker of the Slytherin team, refused to take the Chocolate Frogs that Clarkson offered her as a prize for participating. Moments like those were completely unscripted and caused both Turner and Clarkson to fall out of character, simply out of pure amusement. This in turn heightened the enjoyment of the audience .

As a Potterhead, a member of the Harry Potter fandom, it was slightly disappointing that some characters, such as Minerva McGonagall and Dolores Umbridge, were left out, even though they weren’t necessarily essential to the plotline. In any case, the show was thoroughly enjoyable and Turner and Clarkson did a fantastic job. “Potted Potter” will continue its tour throughout the US in Houston, TX., before returning to California to the Bay Area on Dec. 3. Students can find the tour dates on the “Potted Potter” website, www.pottedpotter.com.

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