Whenever I begin working on a show, I like to ask what it’s really about. And yes, Harry is ostensibly about Harry Styles. And Harry Styles’s face is on the poster. And most of our set is covered in posters of Harry Styles. But the play is about so much more than that. It’s about university, it’s about mental health, it’s about female friendship. And that final one, female friendship, is the most important of all.
Harry follows two young women, Sophie and Caitlin, across their three years at university. It’s written by Durham graduate Caitlin McEwan, and is possibly one of the most relatable plays I’ve come across – rather than being an ‘issue play’, it simply explores the experience of being at university. It explores hating your housemate’s boyfriend, being bad at cooking, and wanting to drop out of your degree. And it’s that which makes it so heartwarming and enjoyable (well, that and a healthy amount of dancing to One Direction songs).
I’m sure everybody can relate to being an obsessive fan of something. It’s something we’ve discussed a lot in rehearsals – although none of us were One Direction fans, between us we’ve been obsessed with Harry Potter, McFly, and the Hunger Games. Yet Harry approaches the moment at which fandom stops being fun and starts to become threatening – it is ever-more prevalent in a world which relies heavily on social media.
I think what I’m trying to say here is that there is something for everybody in Harry – it’s the perfect play to put on in Durham. Whilst you probably won’t leave having discovered anything incredibly deep and meaningful, it’s full of throwbacks to questionable 2011 fashion, One Direction dances, and crisp sandwiches. It’s an ode to friendship and to university, and I would urge everybody to come and see it.
Harry is on at 8pm, 8th-9th December, Durham Union Chamber.