Jack Thorne’s play, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, is officially in its previews stage, and will reveal to fans of J.K. Rowling’s books (yes, and movies) just how The Boy Who Lived ended up as The Man Who Will Work Himself To Death If He Isn’t Careful. The two-part play officially opens July 31, and some of the bugs are still being worked out of the production, by which we mean live owls.
Owls are the carrier or homing pigeons of the Hogwarts world, spiriting messages to and fro without the backing of a union, and The Cursed Child intended to use the birds in just such a way. But it seems one of the birds got pre-opening night jitters, and flew away during the first preview performance on Tuesday. The Palace Theater has already posted a sign to indicate that “no real birds” will be a part of the performances going forward, which means the characters will either grow up and just get smartphones already, or a stagehand’s origami skills are about to be put to great use.
The Cursed Child producers issued a statement outlining the “expert care” the birds received from “a team of certified trainers and an on-site specialist veterinary surgeon” who “ensured the owls’ welfare and enrichment needs were safeguarded at all times.” They stressed that the birds’ care was of “the utmost importance to the production.” Naturally, PETA’s already weighed in on the matter, applauding the team for making the decision to leave the birds out of the show.