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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

Accio tickets! Lights, camera, “Puffs”!

A wild romp through the Hufflepuff version of Harry Potter
Seven+cast+members+stand+in+a+semi-circle+on+stage%2C+placing+their+wands+in+the+middle+of+their+huddle.
Britain O’Brien
Placing their wands into the middle, the “Puffs” cast acts out a celebratory scene in the play and comes together in a teamly cheer. Junior actress Esta Kamau played Suzie Bones in her first high school theater performance. “[‘Puffs’] made me more outgoing. The people on the cast are some of my closet friends right now and it was such a fun time being with them all,” Kamau said. “Being on stage for the first time in a play helped me gain more confidence.” (caption by Keira Lang)

This month, the theater department put on a production titled “Puffs”, a spoof of the famous Harry Potter series through the eyes of the Hufflepuffs, utilizing a protagonist who wishes he was the hero of the story. The show ran a total of three times for an audience in the theater: once on Oct. 27 and twice on Oct. 28. 

The play was brought to life by actors and backstage crewmembers across all grades. This year, 14 students performed on stage as a multitude of unique characters. 

From auditions to performance, Puffs took a little under seven weeks of work to make happen. Rehearsals took place four to five times a week with props constantly being ordered and sets continuously being built. Sophomore actress Tina Ghasedi played both Harry Potter and Moaning Myrtle, along with other characters.

“[Theater] takes a lot of my time,” Ghasedi said. “I had rehearsal every day and ended up doing classwork before class and during passing periods. I have a lot of homework and hard classes, but I think the time that I spent on the play was really worth it.”

The actors weren’t the only people who put work into the production of Puffs: theater teacher Amie Gossett has been directing plays for 21 years at Parkway. She’s worked on a variety of things, including costumes and lighting, and is familiar with all aspects of the general happenings on stage. 

“Each play has its own challenges, it just depends on the show. This one is difficult because it’s seemingly simple in concept, but it’s very complicated [because] it has to run seamlessly between all of the scenes and all the things that happened in the 10-year span of Harry Potter,” Gossett said. “Plus adding in all of the visual effects to make it a spectacle. On-screen, we have to create that [liveliness].”

For the theater department, there was a multitude of things they had to keep track of leading up to the performance, especially since most of the actors played many characters throughout the play. Many people came together to make the play run smoothly, including theater department assistant and math teacher Patrick Mooney. Along with running ticket sales and seating, Mooney took notes at performance rehearsals to help the students improve.

Wearing a green Ninja Turtles shirt, freshman Tate McKenna puts on a sour face with his arms outstretched while on stage, holding a wand.
Freshman Tate McKenna acts out his lines as the character Wayne Hopkins, the Hufflepuff failure equivalent of Harry Potter. As a freshman this year, “Puffs” was McKenna’s high school theater debut. “My favorite part is just doing the show and meeting all the people that are like extremely talented,” McKenna said. “I [was] excited to show off everything that we worked on and [just hoped] people [would] come to the show.”

“One of the most stressful parts is making sure everyone is healthy and there when they need to be there,” Mooney said. “We had an actor out a couple of days last week, and when someone is missing, whether it’s an actor or a technician, it’s it makes life a little more complicated. You have to read their lines, and with a show like Puffs actor where students are covering three or four roles, knowing which characters they’re supposed to be playing so that you can [fill in] sometimes is a part of that complication.”

Puffs sported a diverse cast of characters played by students across multiple grade levels. For some students, it was their first high school play, welcoming a new wave of talent to the program.

“I love working with the students. It’s been a joy to get to know a lot of new [ones this time], we had a large number of kids try out for a show who’ve never auditioned for a show before,” Mooney said. “And we took a lot of them. Learning [about] new students, learning what they enjoy and learning how they act and behave, on and off stage, is always a thrill. [To] be able to build the department and get new people interested in theater [is a joy].”

The Puffs performance tracked a lot of excitement among actors, audience members and directors alike. Over all three nights, 476 tickets were sold for the play and the theater was largely filled, bringing attention to the theater department and allowing them to produce yet another successful play. 

“I think that there are a lot of life skills that are learned through theater,” Gossett said. “It helps build confidence and helps with self-regulation. It helps with time management, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. There’s so many of what would be called ‘soft skills’ that are learned through theater, and you learn a lot about yourself.”

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About the Contributors
keira lang, Staff Writer
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 10 Years on staff: 2 What is your favorite piece of literature? "The Cruel Prince" by Holly Black, "Heartless" by Marissa Meyer and "Harry Potter." Who is your hero? Me, myself and I. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Fried Rice.
Zoya Hasan, Staff Writer
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 10 Years on staff: 2 What is your favorite piece of literature? I don't have one. Who is your hero? My brother because he has the positive mentality I hope to have, too. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Katie's Pizza Pasta's Lemon Paccere (or something like that; it's absolutely heavenly).
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    Emily EarlyNov 2, 2023 at 9:44 am

    Great article, you two!!

    Reply