By Michael Gioia
04 Jul 2012
|Photo by Carol Rosegg|
Potted Potter, a one-act parody — now in an extended Off-Broadway engagement — began as a five-minute street show in 2005. Clarkson, a die-hard "Harry Potter" fan, was commissioned to condense the first five novels and perform for "Potter" fans at the midnight release of the sixth book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," in London. In hopes of obtaining the new book "before everybody else," he took the job.
"I needed someone to play Harry Potter, so I could be all the other characters," Clarkson explained. In walked Turner. "I saw Jeff [busking in Covent Garden] and thought, 'Well, if you squint and look the other way, he kind of looks like Daniel Radcliffe a bit.'" Turner, an eager storyteller who knew nothing of "Potter" — at the time — took on the challenge.
"I hadn't read any of the 'Harry Potter' books," admitted Turner, "so I read five in a week, so that we'd write this thing." The thing he so candidly referred to became the Olivier Award-nominated Potter production that pokes fun — in a "loving way," the duo made clear — at the bestselling series of novels, which tells the story of Harry Potter, a teen coming of age in the world of wizards, and "He Who Must Not Be Named," his archenemy formally known as Voldemort.
"When we wrote it, we actually had a white board and a marker," said Turner, who tells the stories alongside Clarkson in a comedy-of-errors format. "We wrote each book down and said [that] no two could be the same." Potted Potter pits Turner as the "Potter" enthusiast with Clarkson as his uneducated sidekick. The two tell the books through song, a Power Point presentation and a game of Quidditch — the high-flying wizard sport — among others.Continued...