Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8) by Rowling, Tiffany and Thorne (2016)

I know that I am not alone in saying that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Long gone are the 626F6F78747265616D=7474747474727576707<7473days when I was in grade school, and I diligently worked away at reading The Sorcerer’s Stone or Chamber of Secrets while everyone else read Captain Underpants (a series I still mean to get to eventually). It seems almost everyone has a stake in the Harry Potter franchise for different reasons. That being said, my review has three perspectives: that of a Harry Potter fan, that of a literary critic, and that of a theatre professional.

The being a Harry Potter fan was what kept me from reading this play as soon as it came out. I find once you close a door on a series it’s hard to reopen. And it is even harder for me if you do it in a different format from the original. We went from a series of novels focused on a core group of characters to a play focused on some of their children. In all honesty, it read to me like fanfiction and after my slight disappointment of Deathly Hallows (and in between the wait for each new Harry Potter book until the release of Deathly Hallows) I have read A LOT of fanfiction.

We have the two school rivals children become the best of friends because of their inability to connect with people due to the expectations set upon them. Basically, Harry and Draco if their parents were loving…and not dead. The characterization was cute, the glimpses of the original Gold Trio all grown up were great, and the story seems fitting. But I personally didn’t want a next generation story. My favorite parts were when we saw Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, and Draco all grown up, making their way through the loss of their children. I want to know how they got to where they are. It leaves me wanting because I am so attached to the original 7 books, I cannot completely care about these new characters. But I can appreciate it as being part of the canon.

The story itself is solid, but only because its a play and can get away with a lot of things. If this were written as a novel I would have note after note on plot holes, questions, and confusions that popped up along the way. This biggest being…Voldemort had a kid?! I want THAT story. It sort of grates against the image of Voldemort I got from the original series. But looking at the story as it is without trying to connect it to the rest of the universe, it is exciting. I gained nothing from it that I haven’t gotten from another play; I don’t learn anything. It is another story focusing on two young boys who go on an adventure against their better judgment and parent’s wishes. Nothing new, but the writers can get away with it because 1) it is a play and this type of drama plays out well on stage, and 2) it’s Rowling. And it’s a gripping story if not an extremely original one.

The last angle I looked at this play was that of a theatre professional. I have been doing theatre for years and have done everything from act on stage, to playwrighting, to designing, to following actors on stage with a giant follow spot. I have read hundreds of plays and even if I didn’t know how huge of a success this is on Broadway and have personally witnessed the lines outside the doors on 43rd, I could still safely say this; its a theatrical hit and a cash cow. It’s a show that relies heavily on spectacle, and this play dishes it out in spades. Harry Potter is synonymous with magic so you have to bring that element to the stage. Time hopping, train jumping, maze running, flying; these make for amazing visuals if they can be pulled off. Pair that with a decent plot and an already established fan base, you have a hit. And because this was a story written for the stage, it doesn’t feel forced like King Kong or SpiderMan.

I haven’t given this play a higher rating because of my personal reservations of being a Harry Potter fan and a literary snob, but boy the play is good. I have no doubt if I were actually able to acquire tickets to see the play I would give the production itself a higher score. It’s a continuation that I didn’t ask for, though I am sure others did. Theatre was a smart format to do it in because it divorces the story from the books and movies (which is why I think people are kinder to it than they are to the Fantastic Beasts films). I enjoyed it. And it goes by quick enough to read it again.

Overall rating: 3 out of 5.

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)

the handmaid's taleLet me start off by saying that I can’t believe it has taken me this long to read this novel by Atwood. My first read by her was actually The Blind Assassin which was published 15 years after The Handmaid’s Tale, and I must say I have enjoyed how her writing style has progressed over the years.

But let’s move on. The Handmaid’s Tale has once again come into popular light (outside of the high school required reading) because of the popular Hulu show. If you don’t know the basics of the story, I will do a brief synopsis:

Offred is a woman whose sole purpose is to be bred; this is her story.

That’s it really. I mean, there is so much more than that, but it’s the basis. Gilead (which is the new name for the United States) could not replace the population fast enough. Chemicals and radiation caused many women (it was unthinkable that it could have been men) to be sterile. Because of that Handmaids, taken from the Bible in Genesis, were given to Commanders to procreate. These Commanders had Wives who could not reproduce, and the Handmaid’s duty was to give birth to the Wive’s children.

Handmaids are not seen as sexual objects…they are not meant to be seen at all. Dressed in red frocks with bonnets that cover their faces, Handmaids are to be seen as wombs that walk.

I chose to read this book now for a variety of reasons, but the main one was that I learned a sequel is coming out. I had a vague idea of what the plot was I wanted to see how it could continue. Especially because Atwood has seen the era her book took place in come and go, and though we are over 30 years removed from its publication, it seems the fight for women’s bodies is going strong as ever. And at least for the foreseeable future, the fight will continue, which makes this novel all the more relevant.

There is humor interspersed between Offred’s tale which helps to offset some of the dire circumstances. I find this to be poignant; who doesn’t do their best to make light of dire situations, to find comedy in the mundane, and to fixate on details that would otherwise remain unnoticed if it weren’t for the fact that everything else is so noticeable?

Visceral, emotive, stark, realistic and fictional all at the same time, never have I felt so innately knowledgable about a fantasy world. It may be because I am a woman; maybe because I am a millennial; maybe because I know how easy it would be to transition from our current world to Atwood’s. This tale terrified me and enthralled me at once, not unlike a Stephen King book.

If you are forced to read it for school, enjoy it. If you choose to read it, know that you are not wasting your time and yes, you are missing out.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5.


Oscar Nominations 2019: The Shocks, Snubs, Surprises & Alliterations!

Clash Cultures

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By: Emily Miller

When The Academy promised to be more inclusive and introduce new members, no one could have predicted the nominations would end up like this. Members showed up and voted in surprising ways, which is ultimately a positive. But this year however, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher.

1. A Star is Born and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

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A Star is Born was expected to be the most nominated film at this year’s Academy Awards with upward of 11 nominations. However, it only received 8 which allowed two other films to tie for the most nominations, Roma and The Favorite. This does not bode well for the film’s Best Picture chances. Going into this morning there were four films heavily competing for top honors, Roma, The Favorite, A Star is Born, and  Green Book. Typically the film with the most nominations becomes the front…

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“SO, WHAT’S YOUR POINT?”

Need a chuckle?

PRESIDENT CONNALD TRAP

(This event occurred more than three months into the presidency, less than four months, but weeks after the first administrative scandal and twelve trips to the golf course)

With a look of indifference President Trap huffed, “Sooo, what’s your point?”

“We all agreed on what to say to the press,” Ranch Postbus, the president’s Chief-of-Staff grumbled.

“And like we agreed, I held a press conference the next morning,” added Vaughn Spikey, the president’s press secretary, “And, Vice President Tuppence gave a statement to the press saying the investigation had nothing to do with firing Director Tallman like we all agreed.”

“And those reporters, the vultures, they brought up the investigation.  I saw it that morning on Wolf News.  ‘Did the president fire Director Tallman because he was heading the investigation into his campaign?’ and ‘Did President Trap ask for his allegiance?’  I saw and heard the questions they asked.  My…

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IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?

PRESIDENT CONNALD TRAP

(This event occurred more than a month in office, though less than two months, and just days after the first resignation of a cabinet member.  To put it bluntly, pretty damn early in the presidency.)

President Connald A. Trap, along with a few members of his staff, were seated in the Presidential Oblong Office. To the right end of the room sat matching couches facing each other with a coffee table between them.  On one end of the couches are two armchairs.  Together they form a u-shape around the coffee table.

The president was seated comfortably in one of the armchairs.  With a glint of youthful curiosity in his eyes, he glanced around the room. His eyes stopped at the bust on the side table against the wall to his right.

“He must have fought for the North?  Did he die in battle?” President Connald Trap grunted, “Do you know…

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Check out this Satire!

Written by a writer very near and dear to my heart.

via THE SUPREME PRESIDENT CONNALD A TRAP — PRESIDENT CONNALD TRAP


Books Make a Better World

Clash Cultures

I am an actress, millennial, and graduated college with a double major in English and Theatre. That being said, I am broke. Oh, I am also a bibliophile. To the extreme.

I went to London for a semester, and I threw away clothes to bring back my loot from visiting all the used book stores on Charring Cross Road. And about 50% of my free time was spent at the British Library for fun (I look back on my library card from there and sigh in happiness). tumblr_mvynebz76u1shl7gro1_500

I break into a sweat whenever I walk into Barnes and Noble.

I cried when I found out Borders were being closed.

All the librarians at the Newark Public Library know my face, if they do not know my name.

I have a book on me at all times. And I mean ALL THE TIME.

So being obsessed with words, and having no…

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