University Players will present its first show of the season, “Puffs,” Oct. 1-2 in the Studio Theatre in the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center.
Shows will be at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are free and available on the University Players website.
“I’ve always been connected to ‘Puffs’ and wanted to do something with it,” director and IU senior Garret Rowe said. “It's a story that I have been wanting to tell, and we all need a little laughter in our lives.”
“Puffs” is a comedic retelling of the "Harry Potter" series from the perspective of students in the fictional house, Puffs. The story follows Wayne Hopkins and his friends as they have their own adventures and stories while the content of the seven "Harry Potter" books progresses around them.
Rowe said there are jokes for "Harry Potter" fans but also for people who have never read the books or seen the movies. At a deeper level, Rowe said “Puffs” is about humanity.
“It's a story of awkward, weird humans who aren’t necessarily the chosen one, or not necessarily huge sports stars,” Rowe said. “It’s a story of humans learning to be comfortable with themselves and learning that it's OK to not necessarily be the hero or be the celebrity of the world.”
Kate Glaser, University Players Artistic Director and IU junior said University Players started fundraising events for its shows. For “Puffs,” they decided to do a “house wars” fundraiser where people can donate money to their favorite “Puffs” house: Smarts, Braves, Snakes or Puffs.
The house champion from the fundraiser will be announced on University Players’s social media after the last show, Glaser said.
“It's just like a pride thing for a lot of people,” Glaser said. “It's been really fun seeing everyone get really excited about not just the fundraiser, but the show too."
People can donate up until the last show on Oct. 2 by cash or Venmo. Board members will take donations during the shows as well as throughout the week in the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center courtyard and Virgil I. DeVault Lobby.
“As an organization, we are very committed to making sure University Players is equitable and able to be accessed by all people,” Glaser said. “So we don't charge tickets for our main season shows and because of that, fundraisers are kind of our bread and butter of how we keep running.”
This is Rowe's first time directing a show with University Players. He said he has always seen himself as an actor, but being a director involves other kinds of creativity and problem solving.
“The best way I can describe it is just painting a canvas,” Rowe said. “Except instead of using paint brushes or pencils, I'm using my actors and we all get to work together and create this image together.”
IU senior Abi Crigler, who plays Leanne, is performing in her first show with University Players. She said working with the “Puffs” cast and the organization has been an incredible experience.
Crigler said she is honored to be a part of “Puffs” cast. She said she hopes people come out to see the comedic story featuring talented actors.
“It's really hilarious, but then beyond that, it has a lot of sweet moments that I think really speak to the joy of being a person,” Crigler said. “It’s so important, especially with how hard things have been lately, to take the time to come and laugh with other people and remember why it is good to be with other people.”