NHS Puffs Production


Ashley Wang

LIGHT IT UP: Lighting technicians like Adalynn Duchene are some of many to thank for illuminating a night of witchcraft and wizardry.

Alyssa Quintana, Staff Writer

The team behind Northwood’s “Puffs” hustle through a stage alive with the sound of pulsing drills and paintbrushes gliding over wood to create vivid scenes. For long hours, the crew works to transform the theater into a different world that the actors can blend into. Starting today, March 22, the theater opens for audiences to see how the wizards behind the curtain breathe life into a “Certain School of Magic and Magic.”

The play, running every day this week, gives the story of Harry Potter a new perspective through the characters of the “Puffs” and their comically overlooked position in the narrative. Their robes, which the costume crew decorated to be plain at first glance, subtly tell their story through added accessories and coats. These additions, plus the use of quick changes, posed a challenge to the production, but the Puffs crew has as much as mastered it.

“Seeing the costumes during the first dress rehearsal was really funny,” production stage manager sophomore Ryn Malloy said. “Especially for people with wigs who were learning how to change them quickly, so you’d see someone come on with a half-on wig and a cape on backwards.”

The ambitious production value doesn’t stop there. Automatic bubble guns and duckie floats make an appearance, being used discreetly and comedically to sell both the magic of an extraordinary school and provide laughs, in this instance through plumbing that defies all odds.

“For ‘Wonka’ a lot of props were being made in-house, whereas this is a lot of buying,” props technician Amelia Wong said. “However, the productions are both fantasy themes. We base it off of the movies, but we try to customize everything.”

This customization includes fiddling with pre-bought wands to remove distracting sounds and light and, for the sets, including AI-generated portraits of Northwood teachers. If you look closely, staff pictures from the English to science departments can be seen on an “honored wall of wizards.”

The creative and production teams have also had to work against the hurdle of presenting a third yearly production after limitations within an era of restrictions and health protocols. Having begun with attempts to balance a budget and copyright issues, the play has come far and transformed into a tremendous visual feat.

“Having mounted three full-scale productions this year, it’s easy to forget that [last year] was our first year back to building and creating these worlds,” theater arts director Danyelle Bossardet said. 

Even at the risk of a spilled paint bucket or a patterned wallpaper not perfectly lining up, the student-led team works meticulously. Despite being in a time crunch, they motivate themselves to work hard by finding value in their own work and how they contribute to the narrative, much like the characters from the play.

“We motivate ourselves by knowing that at the end of the day, we’re all friends working towards an accomplishment, ” assistant tech director sophomore Mary Indes said. “Hearing from audience members that the play looks good and is entertaining really makes us all feel more proud about the time we put in.”

The various departments in charge of the play’s visual excellence have looked far and wide to ensure the show’s magic, and it is no way too late to get a ticket at NHSIRV.Booktix.com.