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FOCUS ON 21st CENTURY LEARNING

The Cappies is a writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders. Student critics vie to be published in local media outlets by attending productions at other schools and writing critical reviews.

THROUGH THE CAPPIES

Theatre and journalism students are trained as critics and attend each others shows. Cappies students discuss and learn about theatre production. Throughout the year, newspapers publish the reviews with the students' bylines. At the end of the year, Cappies student critics decide who among their peer performers and technicians should be recognized for awards at the end of the season with glamour and excitement.

HOW IT ALL WORKS

Each participating school selects a show to be attended, and also forms a team of 3 to 9 student critics and 2 adult volunteers in the fall. Shows may have between 20 and 90 critics in attendance. Critic teams and mentors gather in a private discussion room to perform pre, mid, and post show discussions. The technical and performance aspects of the show are discussed with provided documentation from the host school.

After each show, with adult oversight, the mentors and program director select the best written reviews to be sent to local press outlets. All the reviews are also sent back to the performing school.

At the end of the season, a Tonys-like celebration occurs, where all nominated shows perform a cutting or the critics' choice song, and the final Cappies awards are presented with a trophy by regional critics and peers.

22Nov

Best written reviews for “Puffs (Two Act Edition for Young Wizards)” performed by South County High School in Lorton, Virginia. Reviewed on November 20, 2021.

Jada Paul

Thomas A. Edison High School

 

Whoosh! Zip! Ding! Gather around to hear the magical tale of wizards, wands, heroes, villains, and rap battles? South County High School's production of "Puffs (Two Act Edition for Young Wizards)" gave an enchanting performance full of potions, school dances, and life lessons while keeping everyone on their toes and roaring with laughter.

 

Puffs tells the story of a young boy, Wayne Hopkins (played by Zach Patel), who unexpectedly finds out that he's a wizard! Sounds familiar, right? Wrong! After entering Wizard School, Wayne soon learns he's a Puff and meets the intricate and differing characters that join the group. As the group tries to find their way through Wizard School, they struggle with fitting in, getting good Wizard grades, and making their names known in the world, all the while learning the importance of friendship, self-value, and love.

 

The Narrator, played by Noah Pflugrath, kept the complex story in motion all the while improving and immersing the audience. His lines were said with ease and smoothness as he successfully delivered them with comedic timing as if they were second nature. Every entrance and exit Pflugrath took was full of character choices and well-executed, and his character was not lost throughout the story.

 

Talia Williams, who played Leanne, incredibly held such a role in the show. Although she was not a lead, without her presence, a true lesson would not have been learned. Her character choices, delivery of lines, and her bubbly personality made Leanne a fan favorite, and she held the attention of everyone when she spoke.

 

Rae Eppard truly displayed a true definition of contrast as both of her characters were complete opposites of each other. As Cedric, Eppard performed as a confident, optimistic leader who was determined to bring the Puffs to third place. As Mr. Voldy, Eppard made the audience explode with laughter due to her delivery of lines and exquisite dance moves, and physicality.

 

The entire Puffs ensemble had not only great chemistry but detail. No matter the stage time or the lines, every single character had their own individuality and their own presence on stage. They worked fantastically together, and their true friendship was shown through the show.

 

This show would not be a show without the amazing light and sound crews. Each scene had its own light cue and sound cue. The intentional lighting switches- one scene specifically changed from the original warm yellow hue to a bluish-white hue- and the on-point sound effects and music cues made this show so successful. Sarah Khalil, head of lighting, and the sound crew, led by Steven Gigrich, Phil Gigrich, and Sarah Khalil were outstanding throughout the entire performance, and without them, this show wouldn't have been as incredible as it was.

 

South County's performance of Puffs truly was an outstanding show. Each person involved made this show as wonderful as it was, and their connection and friendship were shone throughout. Bravo!


Campbell Wood

Thomas A. Edison High School

 

In a typical story, the side characters are often loveable additions to the plot who tend to the main character's storyline. Although when put into the spotlight, these side characters contain more depth than you think. South County High School helped these characters shine through their rendition of the humorous parody, Puffs (Two Act for Young Wizards).

 

Written by Matt Cox, Puffs is a comedic parody of a beloved book series about a wizarding school, from the perspectives of the background characters. It first premiered at the People's Improv Theater on December 3, 2015. Puffs focuses on the side characters of the wizarding tale and displays how these characters lived their lives concerning the main character of the primary story.

 

Every story is driven by an outsider's perspective, known as the Narrator. Noah Pflugrath executed this daunting task of pushing the story along exceedingly well. His charm and energy never drew an eye away, and his clever improv matched with his endearing audience engagement. Like Pflugrath, Rae Eppard, who played both Cedric and Mr. Voldy, displayed consistent charm and elegance to the beloved characters. Eppard played the charismatic Cedric, as well as the evil yet goofy villain, Mr. Voldy. Eppard demonstrated their ability of consistency well throughout both acts, never failing to bring out Cedric's charm and energy, and remaining consistent in Mr. Voldy's challenging yet memorable and ridiculous speech.

 

While individual members of the cast stood out, it was the cast as a whole that brought the whole show together. There was never a moment in the show where one cast member wasn't in sync with another. Each actor was in tune with one another when group lines were read, especially in the repeated "We are not a threat, please be our friend." When speaking characters had their spotlighted moments, actors in the background displayed consistent individuality and attention to detail. This was especially evident in scenes with the Puffs, when actors like Javier Quiroz, who played J. Finch Fletchley, increased his physicality when he was in the background to show his character reacting.

 

Tech was what ultimately solidified the show. The sound of the show, done by Steven Gigrich, Phil Gigrich, and Sarah Khalil, was flawless, there was never a missed cue or a bad mic. Every actor was heard clearly, and not one actor went without a mic, which was very impressive for a high school production. The sound cues matched with the lighting aspects, done also by Sarah Khalil, and were phenomenal. Pairing the wand noises with the lights made it seem like the actors were doing real magic. Even in hectic scenes like the final battle, a lighting cue was never missed along with the sound cues. Their creative use of the house lights to display spells was admirable, creating a strong introduction to what was to come.

 

South County's Puffs parodied a certain beloved book series unbelievably well with its unmatched consistency and cast chemistry. Forget Potter, the true heroes of the story are the treasured and friendly failures, Puffs.

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