Arrowhead Drama Puts On Puffs

From February 9 through 11, 2023, Arrowhead Drama put on the play: Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic.


This play presents a view of Harry Potter from a different perspective through three Puffs: Wayne, Megan, and Oliver over the seven years at “a Certain School of Magic” better known as Hogwarts.


The directors were English teachers Rayen Elmergreen and Maralynn Markano, with student directors Grace Anderson (grade 12), and Gabby Woida (grade 11). 


Kaelyn Ferrell, an Arrowhead Senior, who played Leanna shared her description of her character. Ferrell said, “I was Leanne, a classic puff as Mrs. Markano likes to say. Very perky and always has a good outlook even though things are horrible.”


Auditions were back in November; the cast size was 25 and the process was strenuous, according to Markano. 


Markano said, “It’s never easy. My process is that kids who want to audition can come to base auditions, and present monologues. Next there’s usually improvisational activities, where students can show what skills they have that’d be good for this show. For Puffs we wanted students who could characterize over the top exaggerated characters.”


Her callback process was similar to the base auditions. 


Markano said, “Then we narrowed the list to a callback list. At the callback the students have more activities to show off what they can do. We really look for people who can embody different vocal and physical characterizations so that the audience would have clarity of who’s who, to tell the story. In addition, we needed 11 kids who could play larger roles throughout the whole show.”


She also said she decided what role went to what actor. 


Markano said, “It’s really a gut feeling, I can’t objectify unlike sports. I have a vision of what I want the character to look and sound like. I pick whoever matches that vision, and someone who can grow into the role. I never want an actor to give the same performance at showtime that they did during auditions. I really look for magical invisible characteristics.”


Each actor put on a performance for 3 nights over the weekend.


Nicole Seaton, an Arrowhead senior, saw the play Saturday night. She had a few favorite moments but had one in particular that stood out. 


Seaton said, “My favorite part was when one of the Puffs would talk about her being bullied. Her main quote was ‘Oh…I was being bullied’, and that was so cute because she didn’t realize it at first. I also liked when Wayne died and Dumbledore was waiting for somebody else (Harry).”


Another Arrowhead senior, Kasia Lecaire shared her favorite character of Puffs. Lecaire said, “Diggory was by far my favorite. He was really funny and made the whole show so much more memorable.”


Those characters are played by real people who have to get into the role they play.


Chloë Doll, an Arrowhead freshman, who played Megan shared how she got into character. Doll said, “I got into character by thinking about what’s going on in the scene, my character’s emotions, and why she is feeling that way. It really makes a difference when you are fully focused.”


Another part to make sure the show goes on is by memorizing lines.


Michael Ortin, an Arrowhead junior, who played Wayne had a process to memorize his many lines.


Ortin said, “Because I had so many, line memorization was a little tougher than normal. So what I did was break up memorization into scenes in the show and took each scene on at a time, I would work on that for a little bit and move on to another scene. Also being at reference helped memorize lines.”


The next play is having auditions held in late March. You can find information on the Arrowhead drama page linked here.


Markano and Doll gave some advice to students wanting to try out in the spring play. 


Markano said, Come prepared to present the initial monologue with as much characterization as you can. Be ready to play a different role, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you come with an open mind, there may be more opportunities to be cast. Don’t let smaller casts inhibit your chances. Every show is different and some actors are better for different shows than others. Bring your best and it’s really subjective. Not getting cast isn’t a reflection of someone’s talent. Anyone that I’ve turned away has skills and talents, it’s just not the right fit for the time and place. Don’t think you won’t get something because you’re less experienced. I’ve had people I’m experienced with not get cast and others I’m not experienced with get cast.”


Doll from the actor gave her perspective. Doll said, “My tip for people auditioning for the spring play is to go out of your comfort zone and give it your all! Try reading for characters that are the complete opposite of you. It can be scary to perform in front of a ton of strangers, but you just have to put yourself out there and try your best.”