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Director Rhiannon McAfee on PUFFS from Fenix Theatre

 It’s time to don your house colors and remember that it’s “It’s leviOsa, not levioSA!” because pronunciation matters when you go to wizarding school. Fenix Theatre Collaborative brings PUFFS: OR SEVEN INCREASINGLY EVENTFUL YEARS AT A CERTAIN SCHOOL OF MAGIC AND MAGIC and the world of Hogwarts to stage with a distinctly Hufflepuff perspective. Director Rhiannon McAfee, talks about what she loves about this show, her talented cast, and how she hopes audiences come and laugh with them in this heartwarming comedy. PUFFS is playing at the Tenth Street theatre July 14th – August 13th.

PUFFS: OR SEVEN INCREASINGLY EVENTFUL YEARS AT A CERTAIN SCHOOL OF MAGIC AND MAGI

PUFFS shows Harry Potter’s chaotic school years from the perspective of the Hufflepuff house, which is known for being loyal, hardworking, and really loving group hugs. The show is funny, full of adventure, a shows what happens when you show up to school for a traditional magical education but instead find every year gets increasingly chaotic.

If on the off chance that you’re not familiar with the world of the famous boy wizard Harry Potter there are a few things you should know – when students arrive at their magical boarding school Hogwarts for the first time they are sorted in their houses. Each house has a main identifying characteristic and color combination. Gryffindor = Brave (red and gold), Ravenclaw = Smart (blue and bronze), Slytherin = Snake (green and silver), and Hufflepuff =Puff (Yellow and black).

Rhiannon McAfee may be a “smart” but says that after performing in the West Coast premiere of PUFFS in 2019 (when this theatre company was formerly The Eastern), she finds that she is a hybrid because “It’s almost impossible to participate in a production of Puffs without your personal house slowly sliding towards Puffage.”

This is a show that glories in friendship, loyalty, and a determined good cheer of living your own life your way – even if you’re not destined to save the wizarding world. Rhiannon says that all the characteristics that can at first glance seem like Puff’s aren’t the coolest house at Hogwarts, is actually the best because it gives a place for everyone to belong. In a pure smarty Ravenclaw move, she says it delivers on “cwtch” a Welsh word that means a protective and safe sort of cuddle, think of wrapping of your arms around someone to make them feel safe, warm, and comforted.

“Puffs are here to give you a good cwtch – and love you for being exactly who you are. It’s not that they don’t see the imperfections; they just love you because of them, not in spite of them. They’re a little goofy, a lot awkward, and the first person you go to when it feels like the world is crumbling around you-they can’t fix it, but they’ll happily sit and hold your hand until you feel like you can breathe again.”

Pictured is Marisa Taylor Scott; Photo credit: Alan Ramos
Pictured is Marisa Taylor Scott; Photo credit: Alan Ramos

PUFFS also has a trio at the heart of it, Wayne is a nerdy kid from New Mexico, Oliver is a math savant who desperately wishes his next class is math instead of magic, and Megan is the daughter of an infamous wizard and is determined to escape the Puffs where she thinks she has been incorrectly placed. While they seem like unlikely friends, Rhiannon says that the beauty of the play is that celebrates the magic of friendship and self-discovery.

“Oh, my beautiful trio-Megan, Wayne, and Oliver. At the end of the day (or battle), the vast majority of us are never going to become either the great hero or villain of our time. But that doesn’t mean our stories don’t matter-or that our actions don’t have a significant effect on what’s happening around us.

Over their seven increasingly eventful years, we get to see them release their notions of what they “should” be and what they think would make them worth more, and discover their inner Puff and why the Hat put them there in the first place.

Maybe that’s the benefit of being one of the overlooked-the opportunity to figure out exactly who you are without being on constant display and having everything you do be rated and judged.”

McAfee says that to avoid any spoilers she won’t name any of the specific moments that she loves in the play, but says that this talented cast rings the theatre magic every time they step on the stage.

“I will say that there are some characters/scenes where even after watching the show a zillion times in rehearsal, still make me laugh so hard I snort and have to get up and walk away from my table. And there are moments that, again, even after all this time, still hit me right in the feels.

More than anything, this cast is so incredibly talented and has breathed so much heart and life into these characters that I can’t wait for audiences to get to know our Puffs, fall in love with them, and laugh-so-hard-they-snort with us.”

How To Get Tickets

PUFFS: OR SEVEN INCREASINGLY EVENTFUL YEARS AT A CERTAIN SCHOOL OF MAGIC AND MAGIC from Fenix Theatre Collaborative is playing at the Tenth Street theatre July 14th – August 13th. For ticket and show time information go to www.fenixsd.org ​

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