Friday, July 10, 2009

Potter party was HUGE fun! Part 2

This is the second report of the goings on at the July 9th Potter party at the Pima County Public Library's Mission Branch in Tucson, Arizona. [Part one of the report is here]

There will be a second party on Saturday, July 11th at 2pm in the Joel D. Valdez Main Library's Lower Level Meeting Room. Free; no registration required. See you there!

After the Potions class came Care of Magical Creatures, beginning with Rhonda as Professor Grubbly-Plank. She corrected Hagrid's earlier confusion of Gryphons with Hippogriffs and proceeds to teach the different types.

As a special treat, she tells the class that she has a sedated -- but real -- baby Gryphon named Katerina. Hagrid ghoulishly goes into a little too much detail about the damage even a baby could do to fingers and toes while Grubbly-Plank removes Katerina from her cage. And she's a darling. Eventually, however, she begins to get agitated and has to be put back in her crate. "Oh!" says Hagrid, "But not without her bunny!" and adds a stuffed bunny rabbit to the crate. Not a good idea. The crate jumps and bucks violently. Hagrid valiantly tries to rescue the bunny but alas, only pulls out stuffing. Ah well.

For Hagrid's segment of the class he has a special guest, a former Hogwarts professor-turned-werewolf. Ben as Remus Lupin is brought in and the students are told that while he is generally safe due to the Wolfsbane potion, they shouldn't get too close. Hagrid starts the lesson about how well the potion works when Lockhart ambles over to harangue the class about his book Wanderings with Werewolves. Over Hagrid's objections he demonstrates how werewolves like to be tickled on their tummy and behind the ears when he is attacked by Lupin. Hagrid petrifies Lupin long enough to allow Madam Pomfrey to drag Lockhart away. Once Lockhart is safe, Hagrid distracts Lupin by yelling "Squirrel!" and Lupin bounds out the door. My goodness, another close call. You never know what will happen in Care of Magical Creatures class!

We had to be careful with this segment because we knew there would be some very young kids in the audience. We had a full Werewolf costume, but ended up going for comic effect instead of a fearsome one. Curt made a Ben a tale and doggy nose and found some ears, and Ben wore the claws from the costume. It worked perfectly.

Our Hagrid is played by Curt who is, um, a little typecast. Curt, easily 6'6", brings to us a strong theater background and the ability to adjust track lighting without a ladder.

Ben, a Library Assistant from the Himmel Branch Library, was a great sport about the tame werewolf costume and told us at least it was better than when he had to play a puppy for one of the library storytimes.

Rhonda, like Curt and Chris, are active in the Society for Creative Anachronism. Their life-long appreciation for the archaic and arcane adds authenticity and and depth to their performances.

My role as Madam Pomfrey was dead simple: bandage Lockhart up after all his injuries. I had a large bar of chocolate, vet wrap, and goofy band-aids (Barbie, Sponge Bob, Scooby Doo) on hand. He looked pretty funny by the end of the evening!

The last segment was a visit from Simon Wanderman, Ministry of Magic official from the Wizarding Examinations Authority. Mr. Wanderman is visiting to test the students for their magical abilities. Wanderman is played by Chris who is a magician with over 20 years experience.

However, he has a little trouble getting to Hogwarts because he attempts to use a rickety vanishing cabinet. Hagrid puts the 4 broken pieces together and we held our breath while Wanderman emerged unscathed. Whew.

Wanderman has a great time, beginning with some basic wizard hygiene -- cleaning between the ears. My favorite part of the testing is for skill with the Expelliarmus! charm. I won't spoil it, but I can tell you that the child who got the blasted card yelled "Score!" to his friends. Wanderman ends his segment with an appeal to the students to be diligent in their studies because the Wizarding world needs smart, skilled wizards.

Then we snacked on pretzel wands, jelly beans and butterbeer (cream soda). The cast was available for photo ops and other kinds of mayhem afterwards.

I have a gallery of Potter party photos on my flickr account.

1 comment:

Kathy the Unspeakable said...

That looks like so much fun! I wish there were local Harry Potter events near me.