Image courtesy of CenterStage
By Margaret Adams
CenterStage recently opened and closed their production of Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic. Running from November 11—13, Puffs was performed in Caldwell’s auditorium and was well attended by an eager audience of CUA students and Harry Potter fans.
Originally written by Matt Cox and debuted Off-Broadway in 2018, Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic illustrates a different take on Harry Potter from the perspective of the Hufflepuffs or “Puffs,” rather than the main characters from Gryffindor. It is a modern, comical take on the hero archetype that the Harry Potter franchise has ingrained through their popularity. It also pokes fun at the US Fair Use Law by never naming its inspiration.
“The show left me and the rest of the audience dying of laughter!” wrote sophomore Mariah Solis. “I have never witnessed a crowd so engaged with the performance as I did while watching Puffs.”
The play was an incredible success from senior musical theater major and director Maddie Washburn.
“I had little directing experience before and never thought directing was going to be something I loved so much until I really got the hang of things,” said Washburn. “I usually am the one auditioning and performing but I loved being on the other side of the table. I loved having a vision and fitting all the parts together to create that vision.”
Filled with both new and old characters, the show reimagined every novel and followed the main character, Wayne, a “Puff” at the same time as Mr. Potter. While Mr. Potter is off presumably saving the school from “he who shall not be named” or giant spiders, the audience follows Wayne, played by sophomore Bridget Farrell, as he navigates adolescence in a magic school. He and his two best “Puff” friends, Megan and Oliver, go on to help Potter save the school in the fight of good versus evil.
Alluding to the franchise through general words like “the Wizard School ” and “Puffs,” the main characters are foils of the beloved trio. Through their mediocrity and side character-ness, they show how everyone can be their own hero. Full of 90’s references and easily loveable characters, Puffs was a perfect pick for the CUA community.
“Being a huge Potter-head myself I thought Puffs was just about bringing joy and laughter to the audience which was definitely achieved, but it really is about what it means to be a friend and how even though life is tough and we are met with obstacles everyday, we can choose to stand up for what we believe in,” said Washburn. “The CUA community must have loved the show because I have never heard an audience laugh or clap or gasp the way I have all three nights of watching Puffs. I could sense that every person could relate to one character and connect with them throughout the show. I also sensed that we had lots of Potter fans in the audience as well who got the very specific jokes!”
The play also was able to give fans of the Harry Potter franchise a new lens to see the original plot through; instead of witnessing (spoiler alert) the death of Cedric Diggery with Mr. Potter, as the novels and films show us, the audience is able to see what the Puffs had to endure by losing their fearless Puff leader.
CenterStage’s performance of Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic was hilarious and inventive, featuring an incredibly talented cast and crew.
“I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time!” said sophomore civil engineering major, Helen McDaniels. “The cast had great comedic timing and I didn’t see one person break character, even at the funniest moments. The lighting and special effects really brought the show to another level. If given the chance, I would definitely see it again!”