Puffs Brings A Bit of Unauthorized Magic to Trolley Square
Performance & Theatre
While patrons of live theatre still have to take a port key to London or Broadway to see the smash hit Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Salt Lake audiences will be able to get a taste of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World on stage—albeit with a different flavor—this fall, in the form of Voodoo Theatre Company’s (VTC) inaugural production, Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic, directed by Patrick Kibbie.
“Puffs shows us all that no matter if you are brave, smart or a snake, true kindness and love are the real magic.”
“I originally read the script when I was studying in England, and I knew immediately that I had to direct it,” Kibbie says. The Weber State graduate earned his MFA in Theatre Directing at East 15 Acting School in London, where he first became acquainted with the comic retelling by playwright Matt Cox. Puffs follows the years when “The Boy Who Lived” attended a certain famous wizarding school, told from the point of view of one of the less prominent “Houses,” identified simply as The Puffs. The original production was nominated for the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for “Best Unique Theatrical Experience” in 2017. “I knew that Salt Lake actors would love to be in it,” Kibbie says. “I also knew that Salt Lake audiences would fall in love with this small group of misfits, losers and geeks.”
The newly formed Voodoo Theatre Company is kicking off its first season by performing Puffs at Alliance Theatre at Trolley Square, and Kibbie believes that this company has a unique place in the community due to its twofold mission: “First, we have a commitment to inclusiveness—we want everyone to audition, we want everyone to be comfortable with who they are, and we give every actor a chance at every part.” VTC is founded on the belief of kindness and inclusiveness for everyone, regardless of their race, sexual orientation or gender identity, and even goes so far as to state on their website that “If you do not believe this, we cannot accept your money or your audition.” The second part of Voodoo’s mission is also decidedly actor based: producing plays that actors most wish to perform in. “We get all our play suggestions from actors in our productions and actors in the community,” Kibbie says.”Entertaining audiences is important, but we also want to enrich our actors’ lives and craft.”
“I knew that Salt Lake actors would love to be in it,” Kibbie says. “I also knew that Salt Lake audiences would fall in love with this small group of misfits, losers and geeks.”
While the show obviously holds a special appeal to Potterheads, Kibbie doesn’t believe you have to be a fan to enjoy what Puffs has to offer. “It’s for everyone who ever thought they were unimportant, or a side character in someone else’s story,” Kibbie says. “Puffs shows us all that no matter if you are brave, smart or a snake, true kindness and love are the real magic, and I think that is a story that everyone can understand … I’m hoping people walk away feeling like they’ve learned a little bit more about what it means to be a human and a friend.”
The ensemble for Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic is led by Luke Harger as Wayne Hopkins, an orphaned boy who lives with Uncle Dave in New Mexico, until one day an Owl comes to drop off a special letter for him. Ethan Hernandez and Wendy Dang play Oliver Rivers and Megan Jones, Wayne’s best friends, with Kelly Branan, as the Narrator and Jeremy Minagro as Cedric. Sasha Wilkinson, Sterling Shane Allen, Sydney Lorraine Vance, Anthony Todd Sieber, Hayley Warner and Comet Higley round out the ensemble. Puffs will perform October 7–9 and 14–16 at Alliance Theatre, located at 602 East 500 S., Suite 101. For further information, visit voodootheatrecompany.com.
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