VHS Drama Department prepares for the “Puffs” play


The “Puffs” play is set to open on at 7:00 p.m. Nov. 10 in the VHS auditorium. The play is directed by drama teacher Stefoni Rossiter, and written by Matt Cox with music by Brian Metolius. Graphic by: Hank Tovar Viewers ca

Ruby Lacques and Jane Armstrong

The play “Puffs” is set to open this November in the VHS auditorium

As students get back into the swing of school, the Ventura High School Drama Department prepares for their first performance of the 2022-2023 school year. This performance is “Puffs,” a play written by Matt Cox with music by Brian Metolius, and is scheduled to open Nov. 10. The story follows the experience of background characters from the book and movie series Harry Potter. It highlights their perspective of the events that occurred throughout the years of the franchise.

“Puffs” director and drama teacher Stefoni Rossiter is in her 17th year at VHS and has been involved in theater since she was 19 years old. 

Rossiter said, “‘Puffs’ is about a subset of students that were involved [in Harry Potter], so it’s not the Hufflepuffs, but it’s the Puffs.” 

She explained that the play is from the Puffs students’ perspectives, and the events that occur throughout the Harry Potter series.

A wide variety of the student body works nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays to put together the set, rehearse their lines and create costumes to prepare for opening night.

Stefoni Rossiter directing cast members of the “Puffs” play in the VHS auditorium. Rossiter said, “I think that [the play] is going to be really popular. It already is really popular with our drama students, and I think the audiences are going to love it.” Photo by: Jane Armstrong
Raine Mercado ‘23, who will play Ensemble 1, said, “[The play is] really prop heavy, so we get to use a lot of fun things that we just haven’t been able to put our hands on. I think it’s just going to be a cool set.” 

This is just one of the ways “Puffs” is different from last year’s performance “A Wrinkle in Time” and other past VHS plays. “Puffs” is a satirical comedy, a genre of storytelling that uses sarcasm, humor or exaggeration to criticize something or get a message across.

Ari Goulette ‘23, who will play the lead role of Sally Perks, said she’s most excited for the audience to experience the inside jokes and the references to the original franchise. 

Goulette said, “There’s a lot of references to [Harry Potter], so I’m excited for the audience to experience that … people are going to get it if they’ve seen the original thing.”

  Last year’s play, “A Wrinkle in Time,” was a reader’s theater style, where the cast members had to sit in chairs and had no breaks the entire performance. “Puffs” will allow performers to move around and change costumes.

“Puffs” cast member Eva Lechner-Hill ’23 (center) rehearsing to play Voldemort. Lechner-Hill is looking forward to her costume for the play. Lechner-Hill said, “I am excited to be bald.” Photo by: Jane Armstrong

Rossiter said, “It kind of feels like things are getting back to normal and that this is our first real play that hasn’t been affected as much by COVID[-19].”

Harley Nix ‘24 explained that as part of the ensemble, she is looking forward to playing a variety of characters, including the Real Mr. Moody and the First Headmaster. 

  Nix said, “[She] hope[s] that any character [she] plays can make someone in the audience laugh.” 

“Puffs” is different from any of the recent past productions as it requires a funny and critical style of acting that the actors need to employ in order to achieve the right balance between comedy and storytelling. 

Rossiter said, “[‘Puffs’] not realistic. It’s a little over the top, so there is kind of a fine line that you walk between having it be ridiculously overblown and believable.” 

Nix said, “I’m looking forward to the audience’s reaction because [‘Puffs’] is extremely funny, and I hope that any character I play can make someone in the audience laugh.”

 Rossiter is looking forward to sharing “Puffs” with audiences and highlighting her cast that makes the production possible. 

Rossiter said, “I have a really strong group of actors who are really committed. They’re here late every evening and putting their best foot forward, and I think that people are going to be really impressed.”

Cast members of “Puffs” rehearse at the Ventura High School Auditorium after school. Cast member Raine Mercado ‘23 said, “It’s about recognition of the side characters and showing their value to the story.” Photo by: Jane Armstrong