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Prof. Sky Alton

Task 7: Breaking a Leg (Or Not)

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  Magic is a real advantage when it comes to staging theatricals (just think, if muggle productions want to have someone fly they have to rely on harnesses and wires!). We can let our imaginations run wild and create spellbinding illusions that will really bring the show to life.

 

 Unfortunately, things can still go very wrong. The last time Hogwarts staged a show, actors began dueling on stage and an magically enlarged ashwinder caused a conflagration. The Headmaster is anxious to avoid something like that happening again so has asked us to do a full risk assessment, accounting for everything (and he means everything) that could go wrong and lead him having to write letters to angry parents. I could use your help…

 

  For this task, please come up with two ways we could use magic in the show and describe how we could use it. For each, explain any risks attached to using it and any safety precautions we should take. Your assessment should be at least 100 words long (if you’re  really struggling to meet the word count, then you can do a third use of magic).

 

For 15 rubies, please post your response as a reply by the 30th of September, 11:59 PM HOL-time

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The first way we could use magic is by using protective charms in different places (we could ask @Prof. Tarma Amelia Black help on this matter since she has the Charms classroom very well protected). For example protective charms for the audience, another one for the stage, the cast and everyone working in the play and maybe use like some sort of dividing shield between the stage and the audience. In case things get out of control, the chaos can be contained within the stage. Still it is dangerous that us - the students - get all the trouble with us, which is why I recommend the next idea as a complement.

 

Since people on the stage will be in more "danger" than the audience with my first idea, this next one is to protect everyone on stage and backstage. For those working backstage some of the most dangerous things that can happen is that something heavy falls on them. On stage the actors can fall, get burned or worst. So my idea is to have at least 4 people in charge of protective spells for everyone. 1 for people backstage and 2 for the actors - one on each end of the stage - and 1 supervising and making sure everything is in order as well as setting the charms in the stage and audience. Between them they will rotate and keep the protective charms on each person active and going. 

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I believe that a Hover Charm would be perfect to imitate a character's flying. Some very good Charms casters could be present at the back of the stage that would cast them on the people that would need to fly (fairies or other magical beings) or even on the stage scenery. There are of course dangers that the spell would not have worked at all or would spiral out of control so the people would get too high (or even set on fire). That is why I would only use competent charm casters that would practice plenty or have some cushions ready on the stage just in case.

 

Another way to use magic would be to use the spells that create different colored sparks to liven up the stage during dramatic moments, like a battle or even a celebration at the end. These spells can cause fire if used too liberally so people would also practice Aguamenti or have some buckets with water on hand backstage.

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A very subtle use of magic, one which might not even be discerned by the audience, but will have a distinct impact, is the use of magical spotlights which will show each person as they speak - highlighting that they are to be given attention to. The lights can be different colours, too, reflecting the personality, or the 'role' that this person is playing. This is not like spotlights in the Muggle theaters as there is no direct beam of light directed from elsewhere, but appears to be just a singular bit of highlighting on that person. It can be very faint or pronounced, according to need.  Thing is, the spotlight can also be on people who are not speaking but are 'persons of interest' for the play or musical.  What if someone is approaching carrying something of import to the story? That person has a subtle glow, to inform the audience that  they will need to be aware of him or her, and their action(s).

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The main event of the play I proposed would be transfiguration in an ideal scenario. But I admit a lot can go wrong with that, and no one can expect us, little Hogwarts students, to match the power and mastery over transfiguration of Circe. Instead, we could conjure some smoke and cast Lumos from behind the stage, so the actors would cast vague shadows as they mimic being turned into animals.

 

Another highlight is when Hermes appears to Odysseus, to give him the magical herbs that will prevent him from being turned into an animal. Hogwarts wards will not allow for Apparition, so we could, with some difficulty, levitate the Hermes from somewhere above the stage and slowly let him down? Levitation charm is one of the first we learned so we're good at it, but it might be best to practice it with the actor as he might get dizzy or nauseous... 

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Getting one's voice to properly project can be quite tricky, so I would imagine that the Amplifying Charm, Sonorus, could come in quite handy.  Literally, it could save thousands of rehearsal hours and stop a potential meltdown or mutiny when the cast is forced to do the scene yet again (for the 00th time) to get it done properly.  Likewise, if the scene called for a dramatic whisper, Silencio could be cast momentarily on the audience so that the actor could be properly heard.  Sometimes, it really isn't all about the flashy lights and the razzle-dazzle; theatre calls for many practical skills as well.  Besides, think of the poor little firstie who couldn't act to save their life.  This will give them a very important role in the play...offstage and out of sight.  Voila' problem solved!

Another potential use of magic on stage could be for movement purposes.  Ascendio, for example, is used to lift the caster high in the air.  This would be especially useful if the character was required to fly or 'live' above the clouds.  No messy wires (which are potential tripping hazards) to bother with; just a flick of the wand and away you go.  Alarte Ascendare is the same principal, but this time the caster is lifting a target into the air.  I could see these spells working in tandem quite nicely, especially in a fantasy type play where flying is required.  I suppose you could just cast fairies in the parts, but fairies are known to be extremely temperamental. Personally, I would stick with the magic.  

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The first kind of magic we can use are magical forms of fireworks. One person will stand at one end, and someone at the other. They shoot a spark at the same time so they hit in the middle of the stage and explode. Of course, this could be dangerous if something catches on fire or a spark hits someone, but we can make it safer by having trained wizards who have practiced this doing it and people who know the water and repairing spells well. 

 

The next thing we can do which really shouldn't be all that dangerous is changing the colors of stage equipment and props during the show. For instance, we can have a flashing stage bottom by constantly changing the color to all sorts of things while people are dancing. This could be potentially dangerous if the spell hits someone instead of an object, but if we are careful about it, it really shouldn't be a problem. 

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