Interview with Dan and Jeff of Potted Potter, a Harry Potter parody showPosted 5:00 pm on Friday, August 3rd, 2012 by John 'Spartan' Nguyen
Potted Potter is a Harry Potter improv parody show that condenses 7 Harry Potter books into 70 minutes that’s currently playing in New York City. We got to chat with the two leads, Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, about the show. It will travel across the nation starting this Fall.
Nerd Reactor: How are you guys doing?
Jefferson Turner: We’re doing good, very good.
NR: I noticed your accents. Are you guys based in the U.K.?
Daniel Clarkson: Very much so. We’re based in London with authentic British accents.
NR: Can you tell us about what Potted Potter is all about?
Dan: Potted Potter sums up all 7 Harry Potter books in 70 minutes. We literally take you through every single book with Jeff playing Harry Potter, which leaves me to play all 300 other characters.
Jeff: We try to fit as much as we can while wearing funny wigs.
NR: Jeff, so Harry Potter is the ONLY character you play?
Jeff: I do, yes. It sounds like it’s easy, but I have to put up with Dan for 70 minutes. And anyone who has met him says it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do. So yeah, I’m there trying to tell the story as lovingly and as accurate as I can, and I’ve got Dan who’s like a Labrador puppy running around me with wigs, hats and voices.
NR: It’s a cool premise to pull of a show like this with just two guys.
Dan: Yes, just the two of us. I get a great workout because I play 300 characters in 70 minutes, which is great in New York because I’m able to eat whatever I want and then just burn it off. But a lot of it is sort of improv and ad-lib. That’s part of the joy of the show. Sometimes it can go anywhere and we have a lot of audience interaction, and we encourage people to interact. So you can’t write what an audience member is going to say, especially when you have children in the audience. They’ll just shout out whatever is on their mind, and you’ll have to get ready to go from there.
NR: What’s your favorite crowd moment?
Jeff: It was during a Quidditch match. We thought it would be more for the kids in the audience, but we’ve had grown men getting really into it and pushing children out of the way who aren’t their children. It’s like the Super Bowl for them, and it’s hilarious to watch.
NR: How are the crowd volunteers like in the States compared to the UK?
Dan: They’ve been, especially in America, amazing and fearless, I think, whereas in the UK they are a little bit more reserved. They’re quite quiet; out here [in the States] they’ve been shouting and slamming their bodies to the floor [laughs].
NR: How long have you guys been performing in New York?
Jeff: We’ve opened at the very beginning of June. We can’t believe we’re being paid to be in New York City.
NR: Did you guys check out anything cool in New York City?
Dan: Oh absolutely. I think we’ve been tourists while we’ve been doing this, which is brilliant. I do the show in the evening, and in the day I’ve been to the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, river cruises, speedboat around the Hudson, and Central Park Zoo. I literally can’t get enough of the city, and I still don’t think we even scratched the surface of things to do here.
NR: So you guys would actually consider living here?
Jeff: Oh yeah, I really would. I’ve fallen in love with the city. And if someone asked me to work here, I’d do it.
NR: Do you guys have any other geeky hobbies other than watching Harry Potter?
Dan: How long have you got? I’m a huge movie buff. I adore the Star Wars trilogy, but I know the Phantom Menace wrecked the world as we know it. I’m also a fan of Doctor Who.
NR: How about a Doctor Who or Star Wars improv show?
Dan: I’d love to do something like Doctor Who. And I think it would work since Dr. Who is just as big out here as it is in the UK. And that is definitely something we talked about. As with Star Wars, as much as I’d love to, there’s already a guy doing a one-man Star Wars show. He’s actually really good, so I wouldn’t want to tread on his toes.
And I would never do Twilight; rubbish. [both laughs] Vampires shouldn’t be shiny and sparkly. That’s the rule right there.
Jeff: We’re not thirteen year-old girls who like Twilight, and we can’t see why it would appeal to anyone else.
NR: I say you guys do it anyway.
Dan: Ha ha, one of us would just have to wear a pair of cut off Denim shorts, and the other one would have to go around being very moody. And that’s pretty much Twilight.
Jeff: And that’s why Harry Potter works so well with what we’re doing, because he appeals to all ages, unlike Twilight.
NR: Any last words for the geeks out there?
Jeff: Love to be a geek and never give it up.
Dan: Geeks are taking over the world; that’s my theory.
John “Spartan” Nguyen is the editor-in-chief at Nerd Reactor and is based in Orange County, CA. He is a graphic designer and illustrator.