I applied to be a writer for Hogwarts is Here a couple of years ago, and my application was successful! But sadly, the acceptance email went to my junk folder, and I discovered it two weeks after they’d sent it, which was apparently deplorable. I never even got a ‘sorry, you replied too slow’. I liked the content I wrote for them, however, so my Quibbler articles shall have a home on my blog. Hello, 2016.
Meddling in Muggle Theatre
Wizarding theatre has been in decline, according to directors such as Plepbin Eggum, famous for his adaptation of Three Wizards and the Rolling Trolls, for the past fifty years. He stated that the same dusty fables had graced our stages for so long that even fairies would be tired of sweeping up the moral residue for their spells. Whatever that means. He went on about fairy dust for quite some time.
Due to the strict regulations on public displays of magical performance, new plays have struggled to survive outside of big cities; and new writers have sunk beneath the more popular adaptations of classical tales, or Big Name Directors with galleons to spend on marketing. Eggum explains that the reason for this sink or sparkle is that no one is producing anything fresh enough—it’s all a hack of the classics, only some productions have more money.
“Just last week,” he lamented, “I attended a ‘new’ production by some old sop who had basically swapped Urg the Unclean for a melodramatic goblin—a watery replica of Urg’s life as a rebel leader, but without any depth and an endless chain of poor wand duelling choreography.”
This stagnancy looks like it’s about to evanesco, however, as a witch who is superb at charms rewrites muggle plays with magic. Since it’s still a case of using pre-existing material, it might not be the freshness Eggum had in mind, but her work has certainly got magical London excited.
Last night in Undar West End, Celeste Summerbee wowed wizards and witches of all ages with her production of a muggle play called Beauty and the Beast. “It was simple, really,” she told us, “the story was already there—developed and adapted—ready for me to pick the best version. They [muggles] even have their own version on stage—the impressive tricks muggles have devised to make certain actions look like real magic… All I had to do was make the magic really real—make it bigger.”
Summerbee’s grandmother was a muggle, and as a result, she has apparently devoured muggle fairytales all of her life. As Summerbee grew older being on stage felt like her calling in life, but later found that she preferred working in the wings. Being naturally gifted in charms work, then, it’s no wonder that Summerbee eventually thought to combine her talents into one show stopping idea.
Many are concerned that the leading Prince/Beast in Summerbee’s adaptation is played by Thomas Flaxwagon—a registered werewolf by the Ministry of Magic. Some, especially parents, have refused to attend the show on these grounds. When questioned about this controversial casting choice, Summerbee said, “Thomas is simply wonderful, have you seen the play? [We replied that we had] You agree he’s perfect for the part. It’s time we stopped treating lycanthropes like a disease. I like the statement of casting Thomas as the Beast. No one else could be more perfect, in more ways than one.”
The stories aren’t new, these muggle fairytales are as old as Always Kiss A Fwog, but the imagination of muggles proves to be a powerful source of inspiration. Even muggleborn witches and wizards who attended last night’s showing described it as ‘the best version of Beauty and the Beast that they had ever seen,’ and ‘heart stopping’ to see characters they know and love lifted into the air, transformed, and lit up with real magic.
Summerbee intends to adapt Three Princes, Three Dragons and the Old Woman with the Iron Nose next, a Magyar-Hungarian folktale, and possibly with real dragons. She wouldn’t elaborate on how these majestic beasts are the main characters of the plot. “It’s an old story,” she said, grinning, “but you don’t know it. Wait and be surprised.”
We’ll eagerly await, indeed. Tickets for Beauty and the Beast are on sale until the next solstice.