There are a lot of things I should be known for in my life–my strong work ethic, my published writing, heck even my tattoos would be a good signifier! However, the thing I am most known for is being the designated Harry Potter friend–you know, the one who everyone looks at when someone mentions Harry Potter. The one who has read the books hundreds of times (I’m not even exaggerating on this point). The one who has Harry Potter tattoos. The one who had a Harry Potter themed wedding. Yeah, that’s me. I’m obsessed.
Like every true Harry Potter fan, I have taken countless quizzes (Pottermore and otherwise) to determine my house, and I am, without a doubt, a Hufflepuff. Unlike some people. I’ve never felt less than because of my Puff status. I never had the desire to be like the Golden Trio in Gryffindor. I didn’t have the cunning or arrogance (sorry, Snakes) for Slytherin. Ravenclaw was always my secondary house, what with my thirst for knowledge and love of reading; however, my loyal heart always tipped me into the Hufflepuff troupe.
The release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 2016 bolstered Badger pride thanks to the lead character Newt Scamander being a proud Hufflepuff, sporting his yellow and black scarf and exemplifying true Puff characteristics. “Finally!” I thought to myself. “We finally have some strong, true Hufflepuff representation.” Little did I know that things were only going to get better for the Badgers.
Being from Bergen County, New Jersey, I live less than a half an hour away from New York City and try to get in there every couple of months. As you may know, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is currently being performed on Broadway in NYC, but tickets are expensive and hard to come by (I’ve entered a lottery twice to no avail). Despite my disappointment of not being able to see the elusive Cursed Child play, you can imagine my excitement when I heard of another play being performed off-broadway called Puffs, or the Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic. Written by Matt Cox and boasting an intimate ensemble of only eleven performers, this unofficial Harry Potter play prides itself on being “a play for anyone who has never been destined to save the world.”
The story follows the protagonist, Wayne, a boy orphaned at the same time as a certain lightning-scarred boy, who likewise receives a letter when he turns eleven, informing him that he is a wizard and has been accepted into a prestigious school for magic in Great Britain. It just so happens that Wayne’s first year of school coincides with the famous trio’s and it tells the story from the former’s point of view.
The performance itself plays on the stereotypes that surround Hufflepuff house–that they aren’t the brightest of students, they are dunderheaded and inept at even the simplest of magic. However, it also focuses on the loyal nature of the Puffs, making them so lovable you can’t help but adore them. With a small cast, most of the performers play several roles with a central narrator who keeps the pace of moving through the seven years of school. Wayne immediately joins up with a New Jersey transplant, math genius named Oliver, and the pair attempt to befriend the alt-girl Megan who vehemently denies being a Puff. The Nerdist boasts that “Puffs is the comedy play that proves Hufflepuffs matter, too.”
While living in close proximity to NYC, actually commuting into Manhattan and purchasing tickets can be expensive, so I was most excited to find out that Puffs had been filmed live and was being shown in select AMC Theaters as a Fathom event. I jumped at the chance to go (I even changed my work schedule!) and immediately fell in love with this quirky play. Between the simple yet creative sets, the lovable characters, the comedic storytelling and banter, it was everything I was looking for in a Hufflepuff-centric performance. The Harry Potter books and films made me fall in love with the world J.K. Rowling created. The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films showed the world that Hufflepuffs are not just a group of “left over” students. Puffs proved that being a Badger is not cause for complaint or disappointment, but rather one of celebration and pride. While having some background knowledge of the Harry Potter universe would benefit you before seeing this performance, it is still enjoyable for even the newest of fans to the utterly obsessed. I could not recommend it more. While certain performances are kid friendly, most of them (as well as the filmed version) occasionally use strong language.
If you don’t live near New York City or are not planning a trip there anytime soon to see it live off-broadway, never fear! You can enjoy Puffs in the comfort of your own home by purchasing it from Amazon or iTunes. If you happen to be a BroadwayHD subscriber you can also stream it there.