The often forgotten house of Harry Potter gets its moment in the spotlight when McNary High School Theatre Arts presents PUFFS, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic, May 18-21.
PUFFS, written in 2015 by Matt Cox, is the comedic retelling of the Harry Potter series from the point of view of the Hufflepuffs.
McNary Theatre teacher and Harry Potter fan Tom Cavanaugh feels it is not only fun and filled with laughs, but also has a strong message.
“Maybe you’re a side character in someone else’s story but you’re always the main character in your own,” Cavanaugh said. “They’re the forgotten ones. They always come in last place, they always get beat up and they never really have their moment to shine, so this is their moment to shine.”
Cavanaugh recognizes that PUFFS is a fast-paced production with plenty of light and sound cues that the cast will need to be in-synch for. But he feels they have done well with the challenges so far.
And of course there’s a certain aspect of the Harry Potter universe that members of the cast are looking forward to.
“All the magic that we get to do,” said Lincoln Schott, who plays Oliver Rivers. “All the fun stuff like birds flying from the ceiling.”
Cast members also mentioned that Cox’s relaxed and informal writing style in the script drew their interest.
Even if audience members aren’t familiar with the Harry Potter series, Kiele Jarnagan, who plays Cedric Diggory, still thinks PUFFS has something to offer.
“It just takes Harry Potter and makes fun of it,” Jarnagan said. “It takes so many risks and it’s just so funny. I think anyone would enjoy it even if they haven’t seen it or read the books.”
And Cavanaugh sees Cox’s work as a chance for the cast to have some real fun on stage.
“It’s really an opportunity for them to make some big, big choices and create these big, loud, crazy characters,” Cavanaugh said. “I’m looking forward to seeing that and just looking forward to the audience’s reaction for a show most of them have never even heard of, and when they hear it’s the Harry Potter play they’re going to be surprised by what it actually is.”
Those choices could be nerve-racking, but Schott sees it all as a positive.
“There’s so much room for error, that’s the best part about theater,” Schott said. “It can be different every night. It’s a risk, and that’s where the jitters come from, and it really pays off when you do it right.”
Victory Avalos, who plays Wayne Hopkins, looks at the possibility of making a mistake as another good side of theater.
“Even if something does go wrong you just have to keep pushing forward with it,” Avalos said. “I feel like that is what is just very amazing and beautiful about it.”
PUFFS opens on Wednesday, May 18, at the Ken Collins Theater at McNary High School. Showings run nightly at 7 p.m through saturday, May 21. Tickets are $5, presales are available at https://mcnary-theatre.ticketleap.com or at the door.