Inside Abbey Player’s production of “Puffs”


Courtesy/Flannery Moore

The Abbey Players performing “Puffs,” a play based on a magical franchise

Flannery Moore, Crier Staff

Enthusiastic. Chaotic. Witty. Silly. Hilarious. Chaotic (again). When asked for one word to describe the Abbey Players’ fall production, cast members of Puffs: One Act Version for Young Wizards listed all of the above.

Puffs: One Act Version for Young Wizards is all of these things – including a double dose of chaos. A goofy, clever comedy, Puffs spoofs on the story of a certain boy wizard that audiences are sure to be familiar with. It tells the story of a young wizard named Wayne Hopkins and his seven eventful years at a certain school of “male magic and female magic” as a member of the Puffs who, after all, were there the entire time.

While described as a “90-ish minute” one-act show, this runtime relies on the sheer energy and enthusiasm that the cast brings to the stage. Directed by Daniel Bird Tobin, director of the Anselmian Abbey Players, the show’s entire cast and crew is made up of students from all classes and many majors.

Freshman Julia Bard, assistant stage manager for Puffs, said that she “really likes Puffs because it’s such a clever show that lends for the actors to just go wild.” She added that her favorite part of the rehearsal process was “seeing every version of the show, up until the final one.” She said that “The mistakes and the additions and the workshopping all lent for some hilarious moments that really built the show into what it is now, and I enjoyed being able to see and be a part of that process.”

Senior Ryan McDonough, who played Wayne Hopkins, said that his favorite part of the rehearsal process was “just how collaborative it was.” The ensemble-driven nature of the show required a strong commitment to working as part of a team, and McDonough said that it “was a pleasure working with this cast and crew.”

When asked what his favorite part about Wayne Hopkins as a character was, McDonough said, “I love how much of a nerd Wayne is.” He said, “Wayne is so stuck in his convictions about doing a big thing, something heroic but has these little geek-out moments” referring to specific instances in the show, like when Wayne is handed a lightsaber and gets excited.

Sophomore Mia Tidd, director of props on the Abbey Players Board, was responsible for every single prop involved in the show – every magic wand, fake slug, scroll, and Wayne’s lightsaber. When asked about her favorite part of working on the show, she said, “If I had to say, it’s the amount of creativity that goes into it. There are so many things you can just play with and mold into your own version of it. You make the show your own and that’s cool.”

The challenge of performing a show that spins off such a well-known franchise is the fact that audiences see many of the main plot events coming. Audiences already know that a certain Puff loses the tri-wizard tournament and audiences are already familiar with a certain “Brave” student and his two best friends (played by a mop and a brown curly wig in Puffs).

McDonough says that the true challenge is in how fast the show has to move due to this, saying that since people know how most of the story goes “you don’t want to go super slow because people know what’s coming.”

Even though audiences may know what’s coming, Puffs is nonetheless a hilarious, fast-paced comedic sprint through seven magical years. As expressed by Julia Bard, Puffs “has so many layers of comedy and jokes” that fans of a certain boy wizard will appreciate very much, but the beauty of Puffs is that audience members don’t need to be fans of said franchise to enjoy the show. Wayne Hopkins and the rest of the Puffs greet everyone with a big wave and a “HI!” no matter where you come from.