Second Studio, Southern Utah University’s student-run theatre company, will be opening their 2023-24 season of shows with Matt Cox’s “Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic.” The production, directed by Second Studio Co-Artistic Director Dean Rice, will have performances from Oct. 26 to 28 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $5 and can be purchased here.
Though “Puffs” is inspired by a certain well-known book series, the play is a standalone that tells a very different story than the source material. It follows Puffs Wayne, Megan, Oliver and the rest of their house throughout their seven years at school, focusing heavily on the bonds between the characters.
“‘Puffs’ is a story about friendship and about finding your purpose in life and how, even if you aren’t doing some big world changing thing, you are still important and your life matters,” said Andrea Cardenas, who plays Wayne.
A key element of the rehearsal process for “Puffs” was encouraging a sense of fun and games among the cast.
“We’re taking time every rehearsal to play games,” said stage manager Leona Lombardi. “Some of them are theatre games, but sometimes it’s Uno. It’s really just all about being comfortable with each other.”
The “Puffs” rehearsal process was not without its challenges, the largest of which being the number of moving elements in the show. Because a large portion of the cast plays several characters, there are multitudes of costumes and props, considerably more than is typical of a Second Studio show.
“There are roughly 80 costumes, 80 props, about 150 sound cues and over 300 light cues, so it’s been a lot,” said Rice. “The space we’re in, the SUU Auditorium Black Box, is also fairly small, so trying to pack all of that in there has been our biggest challenge, but one I think the design team has handled incredibly.”
“Puffs” also marks the start of a new ticketing system for Second Studio. Starting this year, people wishing to attend a Second Studio show can purchase tickets online through the Utah Shakespeare Festival, with a certain number of tickets also being available at the auditorium box office prior to showtime. For more information about Second Studio, follow them on Instagram.
“All those design elements changing so fast in such a small space makes for some of the most panicked comedy I’ve seen. The show is so funny and the people are so amazing, and I promise you’ll laugh,” said Rice. “Who doesn’t love magic?”
Author: Tessa Cheshire
Photos courtesy of Dean Rice