Magic arrives,

family presses on for play community


Mia Graske

From left to right: Nathan Matzig, Deana Capua, Nora Dietz, and Dylan Guiliano act out a magical battle scene at an Oct. 15 rehearsal on the center stage.

Mia Graske, Staff Writer

Behold “Puff,” where comedy, action, and magic combine in Plainfield East’s production scheduled for Nov. 18 through Nov. 21. 

This comedy caters to Harry Potter lovers, as it follows the Hufflepuff house throughout the years of Hogwarts. 

According to new director Jenna Jeffirs, a changed style has come to Plainfield East.

“I definitely think I’m going to have my own style as a director. I want the show to be as student-run as possible,” Jeffirs said.

Arianne Maxwell, a senior who will perform as character Leanne, reflected on the ambiance of the play community. 

Maxwell said, “The light-hearted atmosphere is really nice because it lets me channel all my energy that I can’t release during the day. It lets me channel all my energy into my character.” 

Salem Channell, a senior who performs as Cedric and Voldemort, said, “I was scared I wouldn’t feel as at home, but it’s felt just as much of a family as it always has.”

Assistant play director Donna Trillo notes the most exciting part of the play is watching the student actors develop from the nervousness of auditions to the smoothness of the actual show, as well as the nature of the play itself.

 Trillo said, “I was like let’s do something fun and lighthearted, something people will connect to.” 

Jeffirs highlighted how communication is important.

Communicating with (tech crew advisor) Dave Jackson about set design, and what that’s going to look like, so brainstorming that. Working with Hayden; he does our lights. He has awesome things for the lights planned. Just making sure all the pieces fit together,” Jeffirs said.

Deana Capua, a senior who is cast as Megan, noted the communication and group chemistry in this year’s production. 

“They are all encouraging you; they’re not talking bad about you. It’s such a nice place to go every single day,” Capua said.

The cast mentioned high hopes for this show.

Senior Andrew Dills, who will act as Wayne, said, “The shift in tone will be a lot better for audience appeal, and, with that audience appeal, it will make the show lively.” 

Channell said, “I think it’s a really funny show that a lot of people who won’t normally go to the show will really love.”

The cast members’ hopes parallel the director’s insight.

Trillo said “If the actors are having a good time, the audience will be having a good time.” 

The directors also noted struggles the crew have faced.

Jeffirs said, “Definitely what was unexpected was all the lighting and sound and buying rights to the show.” 

Trillo said the main struggle is “figuring out the logistics of a lot of things that the old director did, but Mrs. Jeffirs is amazing. She’s doing all the figuring out, so honestly I’m not having too much trouble with everything because our director is so good.”

The other struggle was COVID-19 policies. 

“There’s difficulty with the masks in the audience not being able to see the actor’s full expressions on their face, but it’s surprising how much you can express eyes up. Body language too – there’s so much to read into body language,” Trillo said.

Channell said, “You don’t realize how much you use the bottom half of your face to convey an emotion, whether or not it’s acting or everyday life.”

Despite COVID-19 challenges, cast members agree that the experience and production will be memorable. 

Maxwell said, “The fact that … that me and my fellow seniors are the people the freshman, sophomores, and juniors get to look up to… Feeling like I’m a role model and feeling important is really something that is going to be the most memorable for me.” 

Some cast members and the directors agree they want to have the play remembered as hilarious, and everyone had a great time watching it. 

Capua said she wants it to be remembered “as better than Harry Potter.”

Jeffirs explained her expectation is she wants to keep love for theatre alive.

Jeffirs said, “I don’t think anyone goes into wanting to be a director because they love calling lighting companies, but it’s part of the job.”

Some cast members also noted their excitement for specific parts of the play, including a dancing scene, an intense battle scene, ballroom dancing, and the trio scenes.

Jeffirs mentioned the magical aspect of Harry Potter will be prominent in the production.

“A lot of noise effects [are] involved… We’re going to have, for example, things coming down on fishing wires,” Jeffirs said. 

Dills said, “Come see the show.” 

“Everyone will love it,” Jeffirs said.