Ode to Harry, a Lost Character

I have to erase one of my favorite characters from my first play, the play that named this blog.

When my advisor/mentor first said I should take the play down to two characters, my heart cried out for Harry. I knew I would have to cut him and everything he means to me.

So here is the story of Harry: when I first started writing somewhere never travelled, I was also acting in a production of Steven Sondheim’s Company. I very quickly acquired a slight crush on my stage hubby, whose character name was Harry. He, unfortunately, fell for the musical director. (Consequently it’s three years later and they are still dating. And I’m still friends with both of them.) When it came time to title the bar owner who gets passed over for Noah and all his geekiness, I thought back to how great it would be to “stick it” to my failed crush by placing him in the same sad situation he had put me in.

I never told anyone what happened, why I liked this secondary character so much, but when the actor in the first production fleshed out the wise, lonely parts of Harry’s character, I got even more attached. During that production, the team kept asking me if I were more like Noah or Lucy, the two main characters, but thinking back, I also have a lot in common with Harry. I know what it’s like to reach out to someone and have him or her pass you by. And I also liked how in that situation Harry was still there looking out for his friend, instead of holding a grudge. That part might be more wishful thinking that only works on the stage, but I treasure it and look up to it nonetheless.

After reading through the play today, I know exactly what my advisor is talking about. I may love Harry, but his character doesn’t add anything to the play anymore. He isn’t the first character I’ve cut (not even in this play) and he won’t be the last. Since I can’t keep him in the next version of somewhere never travelled, I’ll immortalize him here. Maybe his words of wisdom will find their way back into my writing someday.

Until then . . .
“I like to be able to see my dark corners.”
“Strangers aren’t the only ones with depth.”
“As always.”

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About austinausten88

Playwright in love with Classic films, afternoon tea, and Noel Coward. She recently graduated from Rice University. In the fall, she will be exchanging her English major undergraduate status for that of Theatre & Performance Studies graduate student.
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