- Falmouth Public Schools
Team Effort: ‘Puffs’ Showcases Diverse Talent
Team Effort: ‘Puffs’ Showcases Diverse Talent
By Sarah E. Murphy
Laughter filled the Falmouth High School auditorium throughout the weekend of November 18, as the FHS Theatre Company showcased a broad range of talent, set against the magical world of “Puffs.”
Written by Matt Cox, and inspired by a popular book and movie franchise about a young wizard named Harry, the two-act parody explores “Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic,” shining a light on the less desirable house of “Puffs.”
The story recounts the dangerous and daring experiences of protagonist Wayne Hopkins and his best friends, Oliver Rivers and Megan Jones. Unlike their classmate, Harry, the self-proclaimed underdogs of Puffs “have never been destined to save the world.” But little do they know what’s in store. And so the adventure begins.
FHS theater teacher and theater director Alyssa Guida, who served as artistic director, credited the cast for their commitment. Rehearsals began in mid-September, and some actors portrayed multiple characters.
“This particular group of students was very focused. They were determined to learn as many lines as possible. I’m very proud of them for being able to do that in such a short amount of time,” Ms. Guida said.
The students also had the opportunity to showcase their comedic timing and improv skills, resulting in a slightly different performance for each of the four shows, which included two performances on Saturday.
“These kids are very funny, and one observation I heard from people in the audience was that even when they didn’t understand the references to the books and movies, they could tell the kids were having so much fun. They really picked up on that from their performance and delivery,” she said.
The camaraderie of the cast also mirrored that of the characters.
“The students in the theater program get along so well, and a lot of them participate in order to make new friends. Many of them didn’t know each other very well at the start of this process, and now they’re inseparable,” she said.
Ms. Guida offered special recognition to the understudies, all of whom invested equal time with no guarantee of being able to showcase their talent. She also credited assistant director Tyler Murphy and technical director Ryan Webber for their commitment.
“There is so much that goes into putting on a production, but we really enjoy doing it,” Ms. Guida said.
Sophomore Felix Koerner portrayed Oliver. This was his third time participating in a FHS production.
“It was a really fun show to put on. It’s very fast-paced and humorous, and it’s always fun to work with the other cast members,” he said.
“It started out as an improv show, and there are some elements of that left in the show, so we got to pick which set of lines to say. It was cool to have that freedom.”
Felix also enjoys the FHS theater community.
“A lot of the older kids are really inclusive to new people, and we don’t cast on seniority, so it’s possible to get a larger role, which is really cool,” he said.
FHS junior Marin Withrow portrayed J. Finch Fletchley, in addition to five other characters.
“The cast’s dedication and drive really made the production. Most of my friends are in theater, and getting to see them all flourish on stage was wonderful,” she said.
She also appreciated the opportunity to trust her judgment while flexing her creative muscles.
“I greatly enjoyed the actual performances. I felt free to take my role into my own hands in a way that I had never done before,” she said.
Merritt Willcox, who is also a junior, juggled three roles.
“Puffs was so much fun to be a part of. The entire show we all had this great energy as a cast and built off each other to make the play even funnier,” she said.
“The technical crew did an amazing job as well, as they took charge of the many different props, lighting, cues, and sound effects with responsibility and hard work.”
Puffs is the first play at FHS since Fall 2019 without the need for masks or strict Covid protocols. Principal Alan Harris attended the Saturday matinee, and credited the students’ work ethic.
“Puffs embodied everything that is wonderful about high school theater. For over two months, I got to see the hard work and joy of tryouts, learning lines, planning sets, and teamwork. Then it all came together last weekend. The show was fun, the performers were spot-on, and all of the technical ins and outs appeared flawless to my wife and me,” he said.
“We often take for granted the tireless efforts of our teachers. In addition to the rehearsals, Ms. Guida and Mr. Murphy worked with Mr. Webber for four consecutive days and nights at FHS in preparation for the opening. It is true dedication.”
Auditions for the spring musical, Mamma Mia! will be held December 16 and 19. The production will be staged May 5-7, 2023.