“Puffs: Or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic“ is currently being performed at the New World Stages Theatre in New York City, New York. This Off-Broadway play cleverly skirts around a well-known seven-book and eight-movie series about wizards and their adventures at a magic school. The Harry Potter series, written by J.K. Rowling, is internationally very well known. The novels follow the story of a muggle-raised ‘boy who lived’ and his magical adventures with his friends. But, as “Puffs“ will alert its audiences, everybody already knows this story.
“Puffs“ provides a clever spin to the world of Muggles, Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, Slytherins and Hufflepuffs Harry Potter fans already know. This play is not the story of the smart, braves or snakes — this is the story of the Puffs. The Puffs, shorthand for Hufflepuffs, have often been labeled as the most underestimated and least liked house at the school. “Puffs“ tells the story of Wayne, an unlikely hero as well as a proud Puff, who attends this school of magic at the same time as the Chosen One.
Wayne was raised by his absent-minded uncle after his parents were killed in a chocolate frog accident, until, similarly to another young wizard, he was whisked into the world of wizards at age eleven. According to Wayne, played by Zac Moon, “[Puffs are] the mighty ducks of wizards!” This spectacularly hilarious performance brings the most underappreciated house of wizards out of the shadows. In the words of Helga Hufflepuff, briefly played by Andy Miller, “Why be one thing, when you can be everything else?” “Puffs” playfully makes fun of book-to-movie inconsistencies such as the ‘subtle’ Dumbledore actor switch present in the movie series and says all of the things fans have always wanted to say.
Many members of the cast get to perform as multiple characters during this show, creating a fun yet hectic environment backstage. Leanne Velednitsky, who portrays the character Megan, says, “You’re always running around! There’s so much happening back stage … we’re all working the whole time, which is so fun just to work together in that way.” It is clear to the audience that the cast members have an experienced and comfortable dynamic with each other. Keith Rubin, in the role of the esteemed Cedric, describes this dynamic as “getting to clown around with your friends in a really lovely way.”
This play, with its hilarious characters and genius dialogue, hardly gives the audience a moment to catch their breath between laughs. One such character is Leanne, played by Andy Miller. “We’re wizards!” she exclaims occasionally, perhaps to remind herself. However, this character is not without inspiring moments of her own. “Look in your hand, you have a wand!” Leanne says, “…Unless you looked in your other hand.”
“Puffs” will not only leave its audience with a new definition of what it means to belong to the house of loyalty and badgers but also with the impression made by Wayne’s final interaction with Dumbledore where he learns roughly the same lesson Harry Potter would come to learn, “Did I really spend seven years at wizard school to find out you think love is the greatest magic there is?” This play teaches its audience the important lesson of being the main character of their own stories, even if it is not the story they wanted to tell.