Move Aside Gryffindor: Puffs Takes the Stage

Ellen Jordan ’26 in News | May 26, 2024

          May 10 and May 11 marked the Periwig Club’s final theatrical productions of the year, as audience members shuffled into seats in the Kirby Arts Center’s (KAC) Black Box Theater to watch the Club’s production of Puffs. A parody of J.K. Rowling’s hit Harry Potter book series, the play is told from the perspective of members of the Puffs House (a knockoff of Harry Potter’s Hufflepuffs).  Lawrenceville’s rendition of the play was directed by Gabrielle Lescardre, who chose Puffs as this year’s  Spring Play due to her own personal attachment to the Harry Potter franchise and the freedom offered by the play’s plot. 
“As a lifelong fan of the Harry Potter books, I was excited to work on a play that didn't have any direct affiliation to the author or franchise, giving us the freedom to create our own version of the ‘wizarding world,’” she elaborated.

          According to Lescarde, some of the more complicated elements of the play included implementing the estimated 400 light and 200 sound cues, 120 mostly hand-made props and fast-paced acting.
For ensemble member Jane Shindnes’26, acting in Puffs was her first time participating in Periwig productions as a complete spur-of-the-moment decision. 

          “In my view, trying new things is what Lawrenceville is for. It was this mentality that then pushed me to audition to be a cast member of Puffs,” Shindnes elaborated. Despite Shindnes’ lack of prior on-stage acting experience, she quickly found herself adapting to being a member of the cast, a transition which she credited to the supportive nature of the cast, acting teachers, and directors. According to Shindnes, preparing for the production required both cast and crew members to meet and rehearse four to five times a week, and they even participated in workshops to work on accents and languages implemented into the show. However, despite the lengthy rehearsal periods and the additional stress that the high-paced nature of the play brought Shindnes, she found the production to be an extremely rewarding experience and specifically enjoyed having the opportunity to learn from and bond with her fellow cast members.“[The cast has] honestly really inspired me because they’re all really talented, so seeing them work has been such a great opportunity,” Shindnes finished. 

          According to assistant stage manager Suzie Nguyen ’26, the most rewarding aspect of participating in the play’s production has been hearing positive reviews about the production from members of the Lawrenceville community. “I’ve had people, like teachers and classmates, come up to me and talk positively about the play, which is so rewarding because reviews such as those are really just compliments to the cast and crew, who have put so much effort into this production,” Nguyen elaborated. 

          Mila Cooper ’26, who attended Puffs, was in full praise of the quality of the production, and she specifically noted that despite never having read the Harry Potter book series, she was still able to understand some of the play’s references to the original. Regarding the performance of the cast as a whole, Cooper additionally admired the cast’s ability “to connect well with the audience.”

          “I thought both the cast and the audience were really emotionally-attached to the show, which really is just a compliment to the actors and the play in general since that meant that the audience really wanted to keep watching the performance,” Cooper concluded.