Thousands have the dream of becoming a star. Many long for their name in lights, or across tabloid newspapers for the world to see. For Henry (Harry) Rundle, 26, this isn’t the acting dream he sees when he closes his eyes at night.
Harry started acting at the age of 14, whereupon he played Tybalt in a youth production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. After a few years he decided that he’d apply for drama school to further his on-stage abilities. He hadn’t always wanted to be an actor, he says, ‘I wanted to be a journalist or in philosophy or something within that field.’ He added, ‘my family’s always been in the industry [media], so it’s always been in the background’.
Harry says that it’s the ‘thrill of being creative’, ‘the energy’ and ‘the adrenalin’ that keeps him acting on stage claiming that ‘it’s addictive’.
From 2014-2017, Harry attended Rose Bruford College, who’s alumni include Anthony Daniels (Star Wars), Tom Baker (Doctor Who) and Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight trilogy). Whilst training there, he performed in contemporary pieces such as Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’ and ‘The Tempest’ where he played Antigonus and Trinculo respectively. He also played Konstantin in Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’ and Danforth in Miller’s ‘The Crucible’.
Harry says that he enjoyed acting in ‘The Seagull’ as Chekhov’s plays allow you to ‘explore and grow’ with the character, whereas Shakespeare is ‘much more technical’ and focuses more heavily on the delivery of the lines and ‘the meter’.
Harry’s portfolio of work includes smaller productions staged during his time at drama school, along with various short-films and a role in TV’s ‘Doctors’. Harry’s big break however came in 2017, when he was cast as the role of Scorpius Malfoy and Yann Fredricks in the award winning ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’.
When asked how it felt being cast in such a huge production, Harry stated ‘it’s like going from a paddling pool to an Olympic-sized swimming pool’. Harry compared having ‘a whole floor of a film studio’ to rehearse in to the small rooms he used to rehearse in at drama school. He says, ‘they named each of the rehearsal rooms after different rooms in Hogwarts, like ‘The Great Hall’ or the ‘Owlery’ so you’d do little bits of rehearsal in different little areas.’
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is of course a stage representation of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world- so the recreation of magic without CGI is something that presented a lot of new challenges for the actors.
Harry stated that the show was very technical with ‘trap doors that go through the floor and you have to learn how to do all the magic tricks.’
He stated further,
‘it’s difficult because you’re doing a scene and in your mind you’re always ‘got to do that magic trick coming up’. I had a conversation with Theo Ancient who played Albus Potter and he said the nicest scenes are the ones where you can just sit and just do a scene. [The show] is just such a behemoth, I think.’
Moving from smaller scale productions in drama school that ‘no-one really cares about’ to becoming a character in one of ‘the biggest phenomenons in the world’ is something that Harry both found challenging and enjoyed thoroughly during his time in The Cursed Child. Becoming part of the Harry Potter canon and having to deal with superfans is something Harry expressed his shock at stating that it just felt ‘really weird but it was an amazing experience’.
Actor’s can sometimes form attachments to roles they’ve taken on and can learn from the characters they embody. For Harry, his two favourite roles were Scorpius (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and Konstantin (The Seagull). Actors are there to entertain the audience and allow them to see something outside of their own world. Harry loved playing Scorpius as ‘he’s so joyful and as soon as you’ve said your first line, the audience want to love you’. Konstantin, on the other hand, is a well-known character of Chekhov’s, and therefore Harry enjoyed ‘doing the research’ and expressed his satisfaction at getting ‘to inhabit one of the great characters of stage’.
It’s safe to say Harry’s already had a brilliant kickstart to his stage career, and I can’t imagine it’ll be long before we see his name popping up across theatre’s everywhere in the UK.
By Nicholas Jones