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Theatre / Puffs the Play

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"Hiiiii! "note 

"For seven years a certain boy wizard went to a certain Wizard School and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of the Puffs... who just happened to be there too."

Puffs or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic is an Off Broadway comedy by Matt Cox that takes its name from the Hufflepuff House of Harry Potter fame and tells the story of some of Harry's forgotten peers.

With an early run at the People’s Improv Theatre, the show moved to the Elektra Theatre, then to New World Stages, where it ran until August 18, 2019. A proshot can be found on Broadway HD.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, three other stories within the Puffs universe were released by Matt Cox and the cast of Puffs. These are Nineteen-ish Years After or There and Back Again: A Puffs Tale Parts 1 and 3, a parody of Cursed Child; Dude, Where's my Fantastic Friends?, a parody of Fantastic Beasts; and Puf3s: Eventfulness Maximus, an original story that ties the entire Puffs universe together, Avengers-style. Those can be found on YouTube.


Puffs the Play contains examples of:

  • Adapted Out: Due to adapting a series with numerous characters, this was inevitable.
  • Agony Beam: Like in the original, the Cruciatus Curse fulfills this. Used in the show when Xavia asks Megan to perform it on Wayne and Oliver to prove she's no longer a Puff. She refuses.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: The show is centered around this. Apart from Cedric, who is more a comically exaggerated version of his book counterpart, pretty much all the Puffs that were named and given personalities in the books are almost completely different characters here, and the non-Puffs also has some rather different takes on them.
    • J-Finch has none of the Upper-Class Twit tendencies of his book counterpart and has picked up a Third-Person Person style of talking.
    • Susie Bones was a bit of a Flat Character in the books; here her main character trait is that she's The Eeyore who's morbidly obsessed with death.
    • Ernie Mac, while still a bit of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold (with the heart of gold much more prevalent than the jerk) in both incarnations, is more of a "too cool for school" type and a Small Name, Big Ego, rather than the slightly pompous but extremely diligent student from the books who could give Hermione a run for her money with how seriously he took schoolwork.
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    • Hannah has No Social Skills and is extremely awkward, which was not the case in the books.
    • Zach Smith has gone from a Jerkass and Dirty Coward with very few redeeming qualities to a much more heroic (if still somewhat dickish) Jerk with a Heart of Gold and an excellent storyteller.
    • Harry is less a troubled kid chucked into a war and more an Innocently Insensitive Chosen One who steals the spotlight and doesn't bat an eye.
    • Draco is less a tortured kid caught between his parents and his conscience and more a kid deemed most likely to throw white wine in your face.
    • Subverted with Dumbledore: while he's a lot more open about his plans, he is the literal definition of calm right now.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The line in third year when one of the Puffs theorizes that Sirius Black is hiding as a flowering shrub seems like an invention of the show, right? Nope. It's an actual quote from Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • Always Second Best: Played with with the Puffs. They're always fourth best, leading to their aspirations of "Third or Nothing."
  • Ambiguously Bi: Wayne has a canon attraction to both Ginny and Sally Perks, but many of his interactions with Cedric are written and performed similarly.
  • Ascended Extra: Other than Cedric, the entire main cast of Puffs count as this. Special mention goes to Wayne, Megan, and Oliver, who were never mentioned in the books but were in Rowling's initial lineup of students, known as the Original Forty.
  • A Wizard Did It: Wayne wonders out loud why Hermione's in so many classes at the same time. He, Megan, and Oliver figure it out a second later: "Oh, magic." Bonus points in that they're all actual wizards.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Wayne and Oliver get pretty banged up and bruised during the final battle, but Megan doesn't.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Oliver's return during the final battle.
  • Bookends: The cootie catcher from the first Sorting returns at the end of the show to sort Little Wayne as he goes to Hogwarts.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Much of the Narrator's dialogue is delivered this way.
  • Break the Cutie: The universe seems to be determined to kick Wayne when he's down. The moment he experiences any success at all, he dies in battle. Of course, if you've watched Puf3s, you know that this is a plot point.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Puffs. At one point Cedric reveals a list coming down from the ceiling of all of the curses they can expect thrown at them in their first days.
  • Catchphrase
    • "Hiiii!" - The Puffs
    • "We are not a threat, please be our friends." - The Puffs
    • "We're wizards!!!" - Leanne
    • "Oh. My. Wizard. God." - Megan. Doubles as a Shout-Out to A Very Potter Musical.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Happens at least in the original/recorded version. During the summer before third year, Wayne mentions Free Willy in his letter to Megan and Oliver. Much later during the seventh year, part of Michael Jackson's "Will You Be There" (the theme from Free Willy) plays right after Wayne yells, "Puffs Emergency Formation #10!" and the Puffs gather together to defeat a creature. Wayne's Patronus/"Expectation Animal", a killer whale, then appears in the background.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Oliver's math smarts come to use in the final battle, when he figures out the perfect angle to hit the Death Buddies.
  • The Clan: The Jones family is the Puff family, although both Megan and her mother, Xavia, desired something different. By the end of the show, they both come to peace with the fact that they're both true Puffs.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Several characters qualify as this, but the most obvious examples are Leanne and Harry Potter himself.
  • Covert Pervert:
    • When asked how he would deal with a cockatrice, Cedric says he would use magic. When asked how he would deal with a veela, he says he would chat her up. Then use magic.
    • Implied as the Puffs as a whole. Their dorms don't have the anti-mingling spells the other Houses have, allowing more freedom in interacting. Sally drags Wayne back to the girls dorm.
  • Crosscast Role: Harry Potter. Also Draco Malfoy, and Dumbledore during the first two years.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Leanne during the final battle. She breaks out the kung-fu and double wand style, and takes out an entire squad of Death Buddies.
    • For bonus points, the Puffs soundtrack lists the underscoring for this moment as "Crouching Leanne, Hidden Puff."
  • Dare to Be Badass: Just before the final battle, when the Puffs decide to take out more Death Buddies than the Braves or Smarts:
    Ernie: So then, third or nothing?
    Wayne: No. First or nothing.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Megan and Oliver named their son Wayne, after their fallen friend.
  • Death by Origin Story: Wayne's an orphan, his parents having died in a freak chocolate frog accident - don't ask. His Uncle Dave's death is even more of an example, as it continues his motivation to be remembered in the wizarding world.
  • Death by Pragmatism: Wayne is trying to round up the Puffs and get them to the common room to regroup. He doesn't make it there.
  • Deliberate Under-Performance:
    Oliver: Oliver Rivers - I'm just here to keep my head down and get a fundamental understanding of wizarding basics.
    Puffs: Hiiiii!
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Wayne's first appearance after Cedric's death is wasted on Butterbeer.
  • Evil Matriarch: An interesting subversion with Xavia Jones. She has the elements of distancing from her daughter and being part of an evil conspiracy, but when she comes to the school in sixth year, it's only to get her daughter to renounce the Puffs and join her and the Death Buddies.
  • Failure Hero: The epitome of the Puffs. Sure they fail a lot, they fail magnificently, and many, including our main character, die this way, but in the words of Cedric Diggory:
    Cedric: Failure is just another form of practice, Wayne. As long as you just keep trying.
  • Foreshadowing: During fourth year, when the "real Mr. Moody" is teaching about the not-forgivable curses, he delivers the line about the Green-Light Curse directly to Wayne.
    • Also Wayne's whole speech after his Uncle Dave dies, about not wanting to die unremembered.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted by the main characters, who are very insistent on avenging Cedric. Continued to be averted in the epilogue, where Megan and Oliver go out of their way to make sure Wayne is remembered, even naming their son after him.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The dementor that shows up at the beginning of third year is implied to have this impact, as the narrator gives the front row of the audience Rolo candies after its appearance.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: The book Wayne makes for Cedric to prepare him for the first task.
  • Group Hug: The Puff Hug.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: The Puffs.
  • Good Is Not Nice: This characterization of Harry, while seldom outsight mean, comes across as extremely shallow and self-centered with his Innocently Insensitive moments being taken Up to Eleven, to the point where it's arguably his main character trait in this story. Although it's implied that Harry's limited interactions with the Puffs make him come across this way, and the Puffs trio even sympathize with him during the climax.
  • Goth Girls Know Magic: Megan has colored hair, black make-up, and is usually seen wearing darker clothing. She also proves herself to be an exceptionally talented witch.
  • Half-Hearted Henchman: Xavia Jones cannot manage to cast the Green-Light Curse.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Megan's mother starts as a devoted follower of Voldemort, but she changes sides pretty quickly when she finds out that killing isn't as fun as she thought it would be.
  • Hero of Another Story: Mentioned in the climax; Harry may be the Hero, but Wayne is the hero of his own life.
  • Improv: Utilized several times throughout the show. The most prominent example of this is Puff sports captain Zach Smith going on a long and bizarre monologue before team tryouts.
    • The actor is allowed to say whatever he likes during this scene. Frequently, you can see other members of the cast onstage Corpsing to the monologue.
  • Hufflepuff House: Inverts the Trope Namer by presenting the series from the perspective of Harry's Hufflepuff peers. Notably, Ron is represented by a mop held by actors (though they react as if "he" can talk), and Hermione is a wig on a stand except during third year, when the play pokes fun at her using the Time-Turner to take extra classes.
  • Ironic Echo: Early on, the Puffs' goal is "Third or nothing!" regarding the House Cup. After Wayne's attempt at a Rousing Speech in the seventh year, it becomes "First or nothing!" regarding taking down more bad guys than the Braves or Smarts.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Done twice in a row by Voldemort in seventh year right after he demands via megaphone that Harry be turned over to him. First he says that he thinks his ultimatum went well and asks if anyone brought board games or snacks, but finds out the megaphone is still on. He again asks for Harry to be brought to him, then says, "Okay. The megaphone is now definitely off." It isn't, as he goes off on a tangent (the script gives nine options) before realizing the megaphone is still on.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Leanne's Crowning Moment of Awesome in the final battle.
  • Literal-Minded: A justified example occurs after Cedric offers to train Wayne during fourth year when the latter says they'll be like "a wizard Batman and Robin." Having no knowledge of muggle pop culture, Cedric asks, "Which half is the bat?"
  • Loads and Loads of Roles: The cast contains a total of eleven actors. The four actors who play the roles of Wayne, Oliver, Megan, and the Narrator generally stick to those roles (with a couple of small exceptions). One actor mainly focuses on playing Cedric for the first half, and then Voldemort in the second half. The other six actors play the rest of the roles, including the other Puffs, the professors, other students, the founders of Hogwarts, various fantastic beasts, death buddies, ghosts, and even a talking bathtub at one point.
  • Mood Whiplash: Throughout the show, there have been multiple jokes hinting at Cedric's death in the third task, all Played for Laughs. When his death is played completely seriously, it's the first hint that this hilarious parody play will take a dramatic turn.
    • Played even straighter later in the show, when Bippy's death (a Take That! to the movie made even more outrageous by Jessie Cannizzaro's commitment to the Bippy voice) is immediately followed by Wayne's honest-to-goodness death at the hands of the Death Buddies.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Viktor Krum to a tee.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: Wayne was originally raised as a muggle by his uncle as a parallel to Harry's backstory.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: After Oliver returns in seventh year, he helps fight in the final figuring out the exact angle at which to point his wand for maximum damage.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Wayne after acting like an angsty asshole after Cedric's death.
    Wayne: Can we just go back to being friends?
  • Mythology Gag: the same actor plays Cedric and post resurrection Voldemort. As in to how Voldemort considered Cedric a backup if Harry hadn't gotten to the Portkey.
  • Narrator All Along: The Narrator, who has been on stage for much of the play, is revealed towards the end to actually be Megan and Oliver's son, who then heads off to school and is sorted.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Subverted and spoofed during third year when Hermione is played by a different actor in each depicted elective class. The three iterations bump into each other, gasp, and groan, "Oh, honestly."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Potions Teacher is very obviously an Alan Rickman impression.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: "Don't worry! This is the only time our lives will be in danger here. Ever."
  • Parody Magic Spell: The play has several parody versions of spells from the canon series, including "Stupidify" (Stupefy), "Olive Gardium Leviosa" (Wingardium Leviosa), "Avada Kedabra" (Avada Kedavra), "Asio" (Accio), Snake Spell (Serpensortia), "Rickmansempra" (Rictusempra), "Locomotor Legs" (Locomotor Mortis, despite having a different effect as noted in the script), and "Tarantula Jelly" (Tarantallegra).
  • Plot-Irrelevant Villain: The show gets plenty of use out of Voldemort, even though he isn't really there to battle the Puffs. His biggest scene is just a joke about the infamous Voldy hug from Deathly Hallows Part 2. That is, until he kills Wayne during the final battle.
  • Precision F-Strike: Oliver, after Bippy the House Elf dies.
    • Even more of a case in the proshot, where all but the aforementioned f-word were cut in order to not warrant an R rating.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: Mocked when Megan takes up reading out of nowhere in 2nd year, only to abandon it the second school closes.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Mockingly discussed by Wayne and Megan in seventh year. Only to be joined by Bippy the House Elf, their old friend who did not appear in the show up to that point. This is all a massive shot at the film adaptations, which had Dobby suddenly appear in the seventh movie after not being seen for four films.
    • Played with with Wayne, Megan, and Oliver, who didn't appear in the books or movies, whereas almost all the other named characters in the play are renamed canon characters. The names of the former three are listed in J. K. Rowling's Original Forty.
  • Saw It in a Movie Once: Wayne uses the movie Free Willy as a metaphor for his own attempt at finding history-making adventures in the wizarding world.
    Wayne: I just have to find my own adventure. I just have to free my own Willy.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: Done during the battle in seventh year after the Puffs decide to stay and fight.
  • Shirtless Scene: "Now let's all watch this seventeen-year-old boy take a bath!" Cue the removal of Cedric's towel.
  • Spirit Advisor: Much like in the books, after Wayne's death, the Headmaster gives him some advice about the power of love before sending him...on.
  • Sycophantic Servant: The Death Buddies.
  • Take That!: The play takes multiple jabs at the movies:
    • In the third year, Oliver notes that the Headmaster suddenly looks different. No-one else notices or cares.
    • In the fifth year, there is a random aside that they no longer are required to wear robes.
    • From the third year onward, everyone keeps saying that J. Finch-Fletchley, who didn't appear in any of the movies after the second (aside from his name being on the "Dumbledore's Army" parchment in the fifth movie), is "imaginary".
  • The Abridged Series: The show takes seven books/eight movies worth of material and condenses it into a ninety minute play.
  • Third-Person Person: J. Finch-Fletchley constantly refers to himself this way.
  • This Is a Song: The dancing portion of the Yule Ball scene in year four has "A Really Short Slow Dance Song", which consists of a few seconds of music and the title words being sung once before it ends. Oliver Title Drops it, mildly surprised at its briefness.
  • Token Non-Human: Bippy the House Elf seems to consider themself to be this.
  • Too Happy to Live: Cedric is the eccentric yet kind mentor to the Puffs. He seems to have a ball with life and decides to share his wealth of magical knowledge with Wayne. So naturally, he dies.
  • Totally Radical: Oliver calls Megan "neat-o" during the school dance.
  • Wham Shot: Harry runs past Wayne during the final battle. Voldemort shouts "Avada Kedavra!" from the back of the stage. The whole stage is flooded in green light...and then Wayne falls to the ground, Megan and Oliver calling out his name before the stage fades to black.
  • What Is One Man's Life in Comparison?: An interesting variation, in that the death in question happens before this conversation. After Wayne dies, he confronts the Headmaster:
    Wayne: This is so unfair - I just watched some of my friends die, and now me? What was even the point?
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Instead of Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin, the four houses are referred to as Puffs, Braves, Smarts, and Snakes respectively. Likewise, some characters only use one part of their names (Moody instead of Mad-eye Moody), while others are only referred to by their profession (Dumbledore is referred to as The Headmaster).
    • The Mirror of Erisednote  is shown to be named Rorrimdriewnote  instead.
    • Instead of "Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry", the promotional material calls it the "H School of Magic and Magic", while the narrator says it is "a certain school of female spellcasting and male spellcasting".
    • Voldemort's Death Eaters are referred to as Death Buddies.
    • In the script, Wayne's Patronus is referred to as an "Expectation Animal".

The sequels contain examples of:

  • Bad Future: Subverted in Nineteen-ish Years After, when Little Wayne ends up in the "bad future" from Cursed Child. While it's still ruled by Death Buddies, and Cedric is still a bad guy, there is one bright spot: after Harry's death, the role of "savior of the wizarding world" was taken up by Wayne Hopkins himself. Little Wayne is devastated when he has to go back.
  • Big Bad: The First Witch in Puf3s: Eventfulness Maximus.
  • Catchphrase: For "Surprise Johnny Depp" in Dude, Where's My Fantastic Friends: "Will we die...just a little?"
  • The Clan: Dude, Where's My Fantastic Friends reveals that the Hopkins family, Wayne's family, is this; the ending even reveals the reasoning for the family's split between England and New Mexico.
  • Compilation Movie: Dude, Where's My Fantastic Friends is composed of multiple short films.
  • Cosmic Retcon: In Nineteen-ish Years After, due to it being a parody of Cursed Child, this was inevitable. The connection to the Puffs is in Little Wayne being dragged into the alternate timelines...and meeting his namesake, who gives them a method to communicate. At the end of the show, one thing does change with Wayne's future: he becomes a Puff.
  • Fatal Family Photo: In the first scene of Dude, Where's My Fantastic Friends, while talking about the unnamed wizards depicted, the narrator says, "You can tell just by looking at them that they've got pictures of their families in their wallets" just before they're murdered.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Like the original show, the characters in the sequels seem determined to avert this: the clearest example is the end of Nineteen-ish Years After, when Little Wayne sets up a memorial for Craig in his new dorm room.
  • Geeky Analogy: No matter how badass alternate-timeline-Wayne is, he's still the total nerd we know and love:
    Wayne: I became a real Luke Skywalker type, but, you know, a wizard...I know, they refer to Jedi as sorcerers in A New Hope, you don't have to tell me.
    Little Wayne: Awesome.
  • Happily Married: Megan and Oliver.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In Puf3s: Eventfulness Maximus, Oliver takes a fatal spell to save Megan.
  • Innocent Bystander: Craig from Nineteen-ish Years After counts as this. He gets more characterization than he did in Cursed Child, so his death at Delphi's hands is way more heartbreaking. Little Wayne starts sobbing, and when he's finally able to make out a word, he just whispers..."Why?"
  • Internal Reveal: In Nineteen-ish Years After, just before Little Wayne is dragged back to his original timeline:
    Wayne: One question - what am I like in your timeline?
    Little Wayne: Well, you, the battle...
    Wayne: And Potter lived? He beat the Dark Lord...Figures...I guess your reality might be his story. This one? I think it's mine.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The lineup for Nineteen-ish Years After doesn't include Zac Moon (Wayne), and Matt Cox points out that there's no way he could possibly be in the show because of Wayne's death at the end of Puffs. This is a lie; Moon does make an appearance as an alternate-universe Wayne, referred to as Badass!Wayne, who basically takes Harry's place as the savior of the wizarding world.
  • News Parody: In Dude, Where's My Fantastic Friends, a variation so technologically complicated it broke the stream.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: The setup of Puf3s: Eventfulness Maximus. The Serial Escalation of the HP universe is getting too much for reality to handle, and if it isn't stopped, it'll mean the end of reality as we know it.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: After Little Wayne winds up in 1998, he realizes he can try and save his namesake once and for all. It doesn't go as planned.
  • Take That!: As Nineteen-ish Years After and Dude, Where's My Fantastic Friends are parodies of some of the most controversial entries in the HP universe, there was bound to be this.
    • When Little Wayne makes friends with Craig, he expresses surprise that he isn't interrupted before he can say multiple sentences.
    • Grindelwald is exclusively referred to as "Surprise Johnny Depp," and he constantly uses the infamous line from the first movie - "Will we die...just a little?"
    • Jessie Cannizzaro plays Tina, who starts out the show with a smudge of mustard on her upper lip and ends the show with ketchup and mustard covering her face like a mask at a salon.