Sinclair presents quirky Harry Potter-inspired parody ‘Puffs’

L-R: Lilly Robillard, Kasaahn Johnson and DeAndre Swann appear in Sinclair Community College's production of "Puffs." CONTRIBUTED
L-R: Lilly Robillard, Kasaahn Johnson and DeAndre Swann appear in Sinclair Community College's production of "Puffs." CONTRIBUTED

Credit: PATTI CEL

Credit: PATTI CEL

“Comedy is something everybody needs right now,” director Chris Harmon said.

Sinclair Theatre returns live just in time for some magical misfits to take center stage.

Matt Cox’s 2016 off-Broadway comedy “Puffs,” an irreverent spin on the wizarding world of Harry Potter, will be presented by Sinclair Community College May 14-23 in Blair Hall Theatre.

Subtitled “Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic,” this fast-paced romp spotlights life at Hogwarts through the lens of its “well-meaning loyal rejects” of the house of Hufflepuff. In particular, “three potential heroes just trying to make it through a magic school” embark on a journey taking “the classic story to new places and reimagines what a boy wizard hero can be.” Along the way, themes of friendship, identity, connection, and love add context to the naughty humor.

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“You don’t have to necessarily know Harry Potter very well but it certainly doesn’t hurt,” said director/scenic designer Chris Harmon, whose previous directorial credits for Sinclair include “Bare: A Pop Opera,” “Be More Chill” and “The Wiz.”

“There are certain jokes that are Harry Potter-centric in a spoofing way, but if you consider yourself a geek or nerd or someone who loves sci-fi I think you’ll love this show. And I think theatre in general has always been for the misfits,” Harmon said.

“This production has been a long time coming,” said Gina Neurer, chair of Sinclair’s music, theatre and dance department in a news release. “‘Puffs’ was originally planned as our opener in the fall and it has taken great coordination to be able to finally produce it on stage safely. We’re extremely grateful to Sinclair administration for approving our safety plan and allowing our students to perform live.”

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The diverse cast includes Kasaahn Johnson, DeAndre Swann and Lilly Robillard as the three friends; Meredith Sandstorm as narrator; and ensemble members Grace Baumgardner, Leia Gaddis, Callista Kinney, Christopher Koehler, Mark Kreutzer, Kylee Pauley and David Shockey.

(left to right) Lilly Robillard, Kasaahn Johnson and DeAndre Swann appear in Sinclair Community College's production of "Puffs." CONTRIBUTED
(left to right) Lilly Robillard, Kasaahn Johnson and DeAndre Swann appear in Sinclair Community College's production of "Puffs." CONTRIBUTED

Credit: PATTI C

Credit: PATTI C

“We’ve been very responsible about the COVID-19 (protocols),” Harmon said. “It’s been a lot of work, especially for the cast and stage manager. Before every rehearsal the cast is asked if they’re experiencing any symptoms. But we’ve been working on this show since last fall and it’s so exciting to be back in the theater again.”

The artistic team includes stage manager Brian Morgan, costumer Aurora Azbill, assistant scenic designer Liv McNamara, prop master Carter Paige, sound designer Daniel Brunk and lighting designer Jessy Henning. Morgan and Henning are Sinclair alums.

In addition, all tickets must be purchased online in advance at sinclair.edu/tickets. The box office will not be open for will call or sales at the door. Patrons can show their e-ticket on their phone at the theatre doors for touchless scanning or they can print their tickets at home. Limited seating will be available and all COVID-19 safety protocols will be enforced.

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“Our software algorithm provides for social distancing by automatically seating every other row and maintaining three empty seats between groups,” said Patti Celek, Sinclair Theatre marketing and box office manager in a news release. “We encourage people to plan who they want to be in their party and purchase all tickets at the same time.”

Organizers also say all patrons will be required to wear a mask while on Sinclair’s campus. Free parking is available in the new lot directly across Fourth Street from Blair Hall, located in Building 2, or in the student parking garage on Fifth Street.

“‘Puffs’ is such a fun night in the theatre,” Harmon added. “It’s a silly, funny, laugh-a-minute farce. I hope the audience feels the love of live theatre again and enjoys hearing the laughter of an audience again. Comedy is something everybody needs right now.”

HOW TO GO

What: “Puffs”

Where: Blair Hall Theatre, Building 2, of Sinclair Community College, 444 W. Third St., Dayton

When: May 14-23; 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. The Thursday, May 20 performance will also be ASL interpreted by Gloria Pappaterra and Lacy Burkett. ASL interpreters will be positioned at the floor left side of the stage. Please order tickets with seat numbers from 1-10 for optimal viewing. Please leave this floor left seating for patrons who will benefit from this service by choosing seats on floor right if you do not need to view the interpreters.

Cost: $18 for adults and $15 for students and seniors

Tickets: Visit sinclair.edu/tickets

FYI: The play contains adult content and crude language that is unsuitable for children. These are NOT the wizards you know.

Contact this contributing writer at rflorence2@gmail.com.

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