Jamie Parker, who portrays the grown-up wizard in Broadway’s “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” repairs to the archery range on his day off.
The English actor Jamie Parker knelt on the floor of Gotham Archery in Chinatown last week. His left hand clutched a hefty bamboo bow, his right one nocked a red-fletched arrow.
“This is going to be a story about me hospitalizing some innocent bystander,” Mr. Parker said. Happily, the arrow thunked into its target, a green-spotted ball that really had it coming. “Reparo,” he said.
“Reparo” is the mending spell from the Harry Potter books, a collection Mr. Parker, 38, knows inside and out. The star of Broadway’s “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” he is up for a best actor Tony for his portrayal of Harry, the boy wizard who lived and kept living, and has yet to put in the hours with a grief counselor.
This new story, devised by J.K. Rowling in collaboration with the playwright Jack Thorne and the director John Tiffany, begins 19 years after the last book ends and shows how the traumas of Harry’s childhood and adolescence warp his relationship with his younger son.
Mr. Parker “embodies Potter pain beautifully,” wrote Ben Brantley, a theater critic of The New York Times. But while he and Harry share the same compact, deceptively muscled body, they don’t look exactly alike.
When he arrived at the archery range, Mr. Parker’s hair was blond, not Harry’s brown. His eyes are brown, not Harry’s green. There’s no lightning bolt scar, just a couple of chickenpox divots. And on his downtime, he wears neat rectangular glasses, not the round ones for which Harry is known.
Also, Mr. Parker didn’t need much battle magic to make it to adulthood. But when he turned 21, a friend gave him a Hungarian recurve horseback bow. A few years later, Mr. Parker learned to use it, aiming at bottles and balloons in the backyard of the house an hour outside of London that he shares with his wife and son.
“Sounds kind of redneck, doesn’t it?” he said. Other talents: the piano, Rubik’s Cube, self-deprecation.
Mr. Parker’s instructor at the range, Russell Johnson, handed him a fiberglass bow named Prometheus, strapped him into a bright green arm guard and a red hip quiver, and pointed him toward a paper target. The bull’s-eye survived.
As the Tony voters must know, Mr. Parker has a tendency to aim high. Also he grips the bow too hard.
“Be the bow,” Mr. Johnson advised.
Mr. Parker missed again.
“Be more of the bow,” Mr. Johnson said.
Still Mr. Parker kept his spirits up, entertaining Mr. Johnson with fun archery facts (apparently six million geese were seconded for their feathers during Henry V’s invasion of France) and quoting from “Zen in the Art of Archery,” a favorite book.
After emptying a couple of quivers, Mr. Parker managed a bull’s-eye. He and Prometheus weren’t well suited, so Mr. Johnson offered him Venus, a slightly heavier bow.
Mr. Parker looked good holding it. He was ready for a Robin Hood series, he joked. But his shots still went wide and high.