My phone rings. I let the Harry Potter ringtone play for a couple beats before I pick up, just to set the scene.
‘Hello, it’s John,’ comes a lovely, lilting voice.
John Tiffany, that is. The award-winning director currently working on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. He’s been in workshops for the play all day. It’s evening when he calls and there’s a weary happiness in his voice.
‘In all my years working in the theatre, I have never experienced anything like this,’ he says.
‘What we’re doing here is taking the biggest literary franchise the world has ever seen into theatre and it’s... Well, people are so stoked up about it. I’m conscious of bringing the fans what they love, doing this story justice and exploring the psychology of a grown-up Harry Potter with the same epic sweep as the books and the films, but in a different way.’
This is a man with a Tony, an Olivier, a Drama Desk and an Obie award on his mantelpiece and yet, on the phone right now, what I hear most is a smitten Harry Potter fan deep in a project that he cares about profoundly.
‘Jack went away and came back with the first 40 pages. The big thing had happened. He’d written dialogue for Jo’s characters and they sounded like themselves. He’d brought them back. I can’t tell you what it was like to see that.’
The ‘Jack’ to which J.K. Rowling has entrusted Harry is writer Jack Thorne who, as well being a world-class wordsmith, is a huge Potter fan. When he calls, he is relieved to be able to talk about the production with someone new. I know that because he tells me.
‘It’s such a relief to talk about the play with someone new,’ Jack says with infectious enthusiasm. ‘Sometimes I can’t believe it; the idea that we have written the eighth story of Harry Potter. The whole time, I’ve felt this great responsibility to the previous seven stories. Theatre is very different to film; we’ve had to find our own way into the stories. We are starting to see it all come together in workshops now and it’s just wonderful.’
If Jack and John are this excited now, imagine how that will build as we get closer to showtime...
Read part two of the Pottermore Correspondent’s interview with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.