Blackmaskers back in action


Photo courtesy of Kobina Asafu-Adjaye

The production of the play rehearses for their upcoming performance.

A new school year brings new productions to Richard Montgomery’s Black Maskers club. The group puts on two productions annually, one in the fall and the other in the spring, with a winter One Acts festival in between. 

To begin the year, the club put on a performance called Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic. The play is a parody of the Harry Potter series, as it follows the events and story lines that occurred in the books, but from the perspective of a newly named house, the “Puffs.” The script gags and makes fun of certain spells and plots that happen within the books, allowing for a lighthearted and comedic experience for actors, crew members and the audience.

Auditions took place on Sept. 15 and 16, with a final round of callback auditions shortly after. Once actors were cast, they immediately began the work of learning lines, memorizing blocking (their movements on stage) and even practicing their British accents.

Additionally, everyone involved in the production must be on top of their tasks to ensure things run smoothly. This is due to the frequent quick changes and fast paced scenes, some actors playing multiple characters and a wide assortment of props to handle.

The club offers various time commitment crews ranging from House, which only meets on show nights, to Sound, which meets prior to the show opening. Sound meets during tech week when the show is rehearsed until ten at night, and also during live performances. This wide range of opportunities in addition to the cast allows there to be opportunities for everyone.

Members of the play create a banner to hang up on Main Street to spark the interest of staff and students. (Photo courtesy of Kobina Asafu-Adjaye)

From a technical standpoint, junior Matt Lo, a member of Sound Crew, says that they are doing the best on their part to help actors with their roles. 

“We are working hard to make sure mics are working, sound effects are set up correctly and making sure the actors sound good and ready for their big show,” Lo said.

Even with a complicated and intricate show, club members are excited and enjoy the togetherness of the group. Senior Allison Howlett, one of two student Assistant Directors for the production, enjoys being able to work with a great ensemble of cast members.

“They are so talented and creative, and their willingness to take risks makes the show so fun. I genuinely enjoy every rehearsal with them,” Howlett said.

Junior Rushi Jain is a member of the Running and Set Decoration crews, and this is her third mainstage performance with the club. Her jobs entail moving furniture, performing any “magic” or special effects the show may require, as well as helping to paint and decorate the set.

“My favorite thing about Puffs is the people. For any drama production, I love the community that surrounds it more than anything,” Jain said.

The House crew creates the sets and props for the upcoming performance. (Photo courtesy of Kobina Asafu-Adjaye)

As an Assistant House Chief for the show and a second year member of the club, senior Daniel Coxson’s crew duties include coordinating distribution of programs to audience members, selling tickets at the door and making bouquets for actors and crew members. Specifically, he likes the group aspect and also thoroughly enjoys the production itself.

“My favorite thing about Puffs so far is the fun atmosphere of the performance. It feels like the whole point is to have fun,” he said.

Outside of the challenging work put in, members also participate in spirit days leading up to the show as a way to promote the show. Most notable is Bond Day, where those in cast and crew will wear formal clothing to school, typically on opening night to garner publicity and spike interest of staff and students.

There were four opportunities to see Puffs on Nov. 11, 12, 18 and 19. Tickets cost $7 for students and $15 for adults, and a one dollar additional fee for tickets purchased at the door.

“Puffs is truly so much fun to watch. I highly recommend this show to anyone that loves comedies or stories of wizarding adventures. Everyone worked so hard to bring this show to life,” Howlett said.