A new spin on a familiar story comes to the HHS stageNov 01, 2021 02:15PM ● By Jet Burnham
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Herriman High School presents “Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic” written by Matt Cox.
Nov. 10, 11, 12, and 13 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $8 adults, $5 students/seniors, and are available for purchase at herrimanhigh.org.
“Puffs” is an unauthorized parody of a popular book and movie franchise (that rhymes with Fairy Plotter.) The familiar story is told from a different perspective—the students (with slightly altered names) who spend seven years at a school of magic, hearing tales of a hero named Harry (sometimes referred to as Potter, but never as Harry Potter—that would infringe on copyright.) The script is packed with inside jokes and not-so-subtle references for HP fans but even non-Potterheads will appreciate the humor and storyline.
Though there is plenty of satire and humor, it is not a comedy. Things get pretty serious at times. However, the overall message is inspiring.
“The tale of “Puffs” is about the unfortunate kids who don't get the spotlight,” said Caleb Glad, a senior. “In the end, the play teaches that even if you don't seem important to everyone around you, that doesn't mean you're not important.”
Glad plays the lead role of Wayne, who yearns to be more than just a Puff , whose defining quality is that they always fail.
“Wayne is a very geeky kid who is pretty unashamed of who he is,” Glad said. “So I just get to go up on stage and just sort of channel my little middle-schooler self.”
The original show had a cast of 11 playing multiple roles. This production has 45, with ample opportunities to work together as an ensemble as well as to have their own moment in the spotlight.
Many of the cast members still play multiple roles. Sophomore Kenna Graddy plays two contrasting characters— Helga, head of Puff House, and a student in Snake House.
“For Helga, I'm a lovely/dainty/goldhearted person,” she said. “And for my ensemble character, I'm this dark, brooding character that hates most of the other houses. So I just have to really channel the angst for that one and then immediately, when I'm Helga, I have to turn that off and become this other thing.”
Graddy’s favorite part of being in the play has been developing friendships with cast members and the inside jokes they now share.
Junior Kaitlyn Losada said the cast is very tight this year. She is the production manager responsible for the story happening backstage. She manages the props and scenery, and keeps the crew and cast organized and calm—scolding them when they are noisy and leading them in breathing exercises when they are nervous.
Originally an Off-Broadway hit, the script allows opportunities for actors to improvise, so director KayCee DeYoung never quite knows what Radley Haws, who plays Mr. Voldy, will do—he does something different every rehearsal.
“Puffs” is promoted as a story for those not destined to save the world.
“I just love that,” DeYoung said. “Because as much as all of us do amazing things throughout our lives—we save the world but we save it in small ways and not always the way that the big hero does. And so it's very sweet, it's very honest and it's very relatable.”