From Thursday Oct. 4 to Sunday Oct. 7, Capital University’s theater department will be putting on a production called Happee Birthdae in Capital’s own Cabaret Theatre. The production is a love letter to the Harry Potter fandom and is affectionately named after the misspelled “happy birthday” message Hagrid writes on the cake he makes for young Harry’s birthday in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
“It’s a really fun show,” said Katie Stanley, one of the three student assistant directors for the production. “Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan… you will have your moment during it.”
Happee Birthdae is what is known as a devised production, meaning that it was written and structured by the cast performing it. The show aims to showcase the way the Harry Potter franchise has impacted and interacted with our culture and, ultimately, our personal lives.
This is not the first devised production the theater department has put on. Last year Hey Look: a Kid’s Show for Kids was also created in a similar manner. “I love doing these kinds of shows,” Stanley said. “Creating our own show while assistant directing and being in it is just one of the best challenges I think I’ve had.”
As opposed to a continuous narrative Happee Birthdae is presented as a collection of disconnected scenes. These range from a dance-off between Hogwarts houses and comedic skits involving Harry Potter characters, to personal narratives from the cast about how the world and wonders of Harry Potter have influenced them throughout the years.
“I like my personal narrative a lot,” Becky Horgan, another student assistant director said. “I had a really hard time writing it… [it’s] very exciting to get to tell it because it’s a story of how dorky I was in middle school.”
To make the production even more interesting, the scenes are also not presented in any particular order. Instead, each scene is drawn from a box during the show, and even the cast doesn’t know what scene they’ll have to perform next. “It’s different every night,” Horgan said.
Music, specifically from the micro-genre of “wizard rock,” also plays a significant part in the production. Wizard rock refers to music and songs inspired by the Harry Potter franchise. In Happee Birthdae, audience members can look forward to seeing a short ballet, and an original wizard rock piece performed by a member of the cast.
The production is free to attend for all Capital Univesity students and faculty. Tickets to the show can be purchased online at capitaltheatre.org and can be reserved by calling the box office.
“I don’t want people to think [this is] just a show for Harry Potter fans,” Stanley said. “It’s for everyone.”