Last week, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child debuted its first preview performance, with the stage show staying in previews for nearly two months before its first official debut on July 30. Previews are generally used to work out kinks in the story and the production before the show begins, and it seems that this new Harry Potter production is already making some big changes. The show has officially announced that it is taking out the live owls, following a slight mishap during the very first preview performance on June 7.
Herald Scotland reports that during the first preview, a live owl flew over the audience, instead of returning to its handler. The show has already won rave reviews, despite this gaffe. A Twitter user named Andrew Sims commented about the mishap, and revealed that a new sign was put up after the first preview, which revealed that there are no longer any live birds in the show. Here's what the producers had to say in a statement about removing the owls.
"The production of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child is currently in its preview stage, with the process designed to allow the creative team time to rehearse changes or explore specific scenes further before the play's official opening. As part of this process earlier this week the decision was made not to feature live owls in any aspect of the production moving forward. The owls that were associated with the production were expertly cared for by a team of certified trainers and an on-site specialist veterinary surgeon (Steve Smith, MRCVS) who ensured the owls' welfare and enrichment needs were safeguarded at all times. This was of utmost importance to the production."
It hasn't been made clear how these owls fit into the story, or how the production plans on altering the show without these live animals. The UK branch of the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) applauded the move, stating that owls are too sensitive for a theater environment. Here's what the organization had to say in its statement.
"Owls are shy, sensitive and utterly unsuited to being put on display in a hot, noisy theatre, night after night. Treating them like props goes against every message of respect and kindness expressed in JK Rowling's much-loved books. The West End offers many innovative stage productions such as War Horse and The Lion King that create breathtaking effects without exploiting animals. It's great news that Harry Potter And The Cursed Child will be following in this tradition of creative - and compassionate - entertainment."
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a new play by Jack Thorne, directed by John Tiffany. It will receive its world premiere in London's West End at the Palace Theatre this summer and is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. Readers and moviegoers last saw Harry waving off his children at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. Cursed Child will pick up the story, officially the eighth in the Harry Potter canon, after that moment.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn't much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places. Take a look at the latest photos from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and stay tuned for more as previews continue, leading up to the first official show on July 30 in London.
Funny tech mishap: a live owl went to its spot then flew away. They couldn’t get it back and I’m not sure they have yet. Crew was scrambling— Andrew Sims (@sims) June 7, 2016
New sign added after Part 1 on Tuesday. There WAS a real owl, who got lost during live show (see my earlier tweet) pic.twitter.com/hvNWWuXnrv— Andrew Sims (@sims) June 9, 2016