The World of Harry Stork

the World of Harry Stork

A performance of one hour, in three sections.

Three times the same starting point : a man prepares to eat his breakfast.

Three different stories, but three stories which belong together.

Three different directors, but only one character: Harry Stork, the Man in the Suit.

Performed by
Alan Fairbairn
Directed by:
Catherine Baÿ, Markus KupferblumCraig Weston

The Process

A performance of one hour, in three sections. The times the same starting point: a man prepares to eat his breakfast.
Three different stories, but three stories which belong together.
Three different directors, but only one character: Harry Stork, the Man in the Suit.

The World of Harry Stork, an absurd comedy for one eccentric character, a table and several eggs, is the third full-length solo show to feature Alan Fairbairn's creation Harry Stork, who has already been seen in The Elasticated Man (1991) and No Joseph (1994).

Each section of the trilogy was worked on in isolation with a different director and created through a combination of improvisation and writing. Starting from the same premise every time – a man confronted with his breakfast – the three pieces found their own stories and, by some mysterious alchemy, connections began to emerge. Working with three directors means that each piece has its own atmosphere. Jayne Morley's writing adds an extra dimension and ensures that the overall work has form and coherence.  The result is both innovative and surprising.

The World of Harry Stork is a modern clown performance with tragic resonances. It is situated in a décor which is at the same time playful and suggestive.

Our intention was to make comic theatre which flirts with absurdity and the surreal while not losing its connections with recognisably human dilemmas and situations. And above all to make people laugh…

The Show

The World of Harry Stork is a show in three parts, and each part has been developed in collaboration with a different director. The result is intriguing and deliberately ambiguous. Do we regard these three sections as variations on a theme or as an evolving and continuous story?

A man sits upright behind a curiously-angled table. He is dressed in a sober suit, while on his head perches an incongruous red pointy hat.
He waits.
It seems that room service has been delayed. Harry Stork's world is a minimal one. There isn't much on the stage, and there isn't much for breakfast. An egg.

Harry wants to eat that egg. Nothing simpler than that. He even has a song prepared for the event. Then he can get on with the rest of his life. But he seems to be stuck in this breakfast-world and the eggs are taking over.
They tease and frustrate Harry, appearing and disappearing, multiplying or changing size. Harry's attempts to eat his breakfast lead him down a tortuous path through bewilderment and indecision to an ultimately surprising state of grace.

In each of the three sections, the starting point is basically the same. But each section has its own dynamic and its own peculiar set of difficulties. And the situation is maybe not so simple after all.
Harry is not the master of his own destiny ; it seems that some other power decides for him when and if he should have his egg, though we never discover what this other power is. The quirky 

set might be Harry's home, or some laboratory for anthropological experiments, or even a transposition of Harry's mental state.

Despite the strangeness, The World of Harry Stork is first and foremost a comic clown performance, though one with tragic resonances. The show is built on subtle visual humour, and text is used sparingly.

During its first run at the Zèbre in Belleville, performances were enthusiastically received by international audiences, including children