10:00 am EDT, April 17, 2017

‘Puffs’ star Madeleine Bundy discusses playing Harry Potter, lesbian romance, mismatched socks, more

Plus, Hypable is hooking you up with a discount on Puffs tickets!

By Irvin K

Madeleine Bundy is one of the funniest actresses in Puffs, where she plays the fatalistic Susan Bones, Moaning Myrtle, and Harry Potter himself. Hypable spoke with Madeleine about playing iconic Wizarding World characters in the play that’s all about Hufflepuffs!

Puffs is now playing at the Elektra Theater in New York, and as we’ve written previously on Hypable, we love this show all about Hufflepuffs! Tickets and more can be found at PuffsThePlay.com. Use discount code PuffsHype and save 10 percent!

On playing Harry Potter

Irvin Khaytman (IK): Let’s talk about your portrayal of Harry. How do you find the balance between gently making fun of him and not coming off as a total schmuck?

Madeleine Bundy (MB): That is super important, because [when] you’re playing Harry, you’re playing the hero. So the details that you pick in how you choose to portray that person is super important, because you want to be respectful to the fandom. We’ve got all these wonderful impressions of these amazing British actors in the show. I think they’re loving impressions, I don’t think we try to make fun of anyone too harshly. But the difference between doing a Maggie Smith impression versus doing a Daniel Radcliffe impression is that Daniel Radcliffe, when he was doing the film, was a kid. He was learning. So it’s really important to me, that I didn’t want to make fun of a little kid learning how to act, because that’s not nice.

[Note: This may be the most Puff thing anyone has ever said about imitating celebs.]

MB: And I also think that he does an amazing job and I want to be very respectful of that. I also don’t think the show requires a Daniel Radcliffe impression, I don’t think that’s what the script was calling for. So when I went back to reread the books, the number one thing that stuck with me in my heart was just how kind and how good Harry is. He is such a good person, and how he and Ron become friends is so complicated. Where Ron talks about not being able to afford the candy and Harry offers him the money, [saying], “I know what it’s like to grow up poor.” That’s a really complicated a thing for a little kid to say and feel. And so, Harry is a good person is my core for the performance. As he magically walks in, he loves everybody and there’s this sort of Mary Poppins-like “He can fix everything!” And that makes it all the more humorous because the play is told from Wayne’s perspective. Wayne just sees the person that is stealing all his thunder.

IK: One of the lines that impressed me so much the first time I saw Puffs was at the end, when they were like, “Is this what Potter feels like all the time? It sucks!” And I thought, “Yes, exactly!”

MB: Yeah, yeah, yeah! Like, he didn’t ask to be this Jesus figure. He didn’t ask for this tragedy to fall upon his parents. He feels it’s his responsibility to rid the world of this evil, but that’s gotta wear on you and that’s got to be really stressful and hard. And he sees a lot of his friends and family members die because of him. There’s casualties and there’s consequences to him being around. And that’s gonna be on his soul for the rest of his life. I think it’s important that when you’re portraying a hero like that, you take that into consideration, and you’re actually very respectful of how important that is.

IK: You’ve taken on the leads of all of the Potter stories. You’re Harry in Puffs, you’re Albus Severus in Nineteen Years Later [the Puffs parody of Cursed Child], and you’re Eddie RedMayne in Dude Where’s My Fantastic Beast [the Puffs parody of Fantastic Beasts]. Are you just drawn to main characters and heroes?

MB: I think Matt [Cox, the playwright] had me read Albus and older Harry and then Newt’s character because he thought, “In this group, Maddie plays this archetype.” That was Matt’s choice to put me in those. I just love the idea of my Harry coming onstage and he loves everybody and he just wants to give the world a big hug. The one thing I do find funny about Harry—this happens in the movies—he’s constantly amazed by everything that he sees. He has to be because he’s your protagonist. But no matter how much magic he sees he’s still amazed by it. You would think by Year Five he would be like “Yeah, yeah, I get it.” But he’s still like, “[Gasp] wow!” The thrill doesn’t wear off. So my Harry is just always walking around being amazed by everything that’s happening around him at all times. So that’s where that cheery disposition came from.

IK: Do you have a favorite part of the show? Because my favorite is “de nada!” [Which Harry proudly says in response to Fleur’s gratitude after the Second Task.]

MB: Oh, yeah. There was one day Matt was like “Can you have Harry just say something in French?” And I was like, “Harry doesn’t know French.” So I had this Spanish line that came up. My favorite Harry moment … I love when I come out and I hug Wayne. It’s a little different every night, it is a little moment of improv so I never quite know what’s gonna happen. I think it’s showing what my Harry truly is on the inside. Another Easter egg is my shoes. I wear a pair of velvet Converse and they say “snuggly” on the side. So Harry wears these shoes that say “snuggly.”

IK: I have to ask, are you a Puff in real life?

MB: I’m gonna tell you the truth. Whenever I’ve done the Pottermore quiz, I’ve always been sorted into Brave. [Interviewer gasps.] I know, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.

IK: Well, now it makes sense why you’re Harry. It’s all coming together now.

MB: Especially with the new one, they were giving people different answers than they were expecting. So I was certain I was gonna get Puffs. And I do feel like a Puff, but Pottermore sorted me into Brave.

On Juggling Multiple Roles

IK: You get to play so many characters, but you have two pretty major roles with Harry and Susie, [with] Harry being one of the most prevalent non-Puff characters. Is it a struggle to juggle the two and constantly switch back and forth?

MB: We’ve done the show so many times that the going back and forth is muscle memory at this point. I remember at the PIT when we were first doing it, it was sort of like patting your head and rubbing your stomach. Because the only costume element I change are the glasses—if I’m Harry, I put on the glasses. So yeah, I do remember the first couple of performances I was like, “Ah! Who am I?” But we’ve done it so much now, it’s muscle memory at this point.

On playing Susan Bones

IK: Talking of things that you can only notice if you keep coming back a lot of times, I noticed that in the background, there’s a little something brewing between Susie Bones and Sally Perks.

MB: Each character only talks to other characters so much onstage, because we are running around so much. We do have these little backstories that we sort made for ourselves over time. So Jessie [Cannizzaro], who plays Sally [Perks], [she and I] have developed a little love triangle backstage between Sally and Susie. Because we do interact a lot, and [when] these two characters are interacting for apparently no reason, it’s fun to come up with a reason.

IK: Right, so what’s the dramatic arc of your relationship?

MB: I love playing Susie, a Puff that is referenced in the book only a couple of times. But it’s fun to take these little characters and develop an entire weird little world for them. Even if I am the only one that ever knows about it, I do — over the course of Puffs, I was like, I think Susie is a lesbian. And I think she’s in love with this girl named Sally, and when Sally goes off and starts flirting with Wayne, I think that upsets her and causes this rift. I think Susie, who’s this very sheltered girl, is discovering her sexuality through the love of this other girl.

IK: Oh my!

MB: That’s my little backstory for that character.

IK: I love that. And most importantly, do you have a ship name for the two of them?

MB: A ship name? Oh, what does that mean?

[There followed an explanation of ship names, which sounds really ridiculous when you try to explain it out loud.]

MB: Oh, I didn’t know that was the name for [couples]! I have not been on the internet enough. [Laughter] We haven’t come up with a ship name but I’m going to see her in a few hours so I should ask her if we can come up with one.

IK: Excellent. My suggestion is Perky Bones, but you can take it or leave it.

MB: I love that.

[Maddie later emailed this writer, “We came up with Perky Bones.” So that’s the official ship name now.]

MB: We have a lot of Susie jokes backstage. Like, Susie’s always getting sick and her last name [is] “Bones,” because she has all these made-up bone disorders.

On playing Moaning Myrtle

IK: So, were you a big Harry Potter fan before the whole Puffs thing got started?

MB: I think I was in the second or third grade when it really really blew up, and yeah, I loved it. I feel like, I remember everyone loving it. It changed the way kids were reading, it made reading fun. You had permission to have fun with any book, you didn’t have to just see it as a homework assignment. My father is a huge reader. I honestly think if he could just wake up and read until he goes to sleep, I think he would. So that was something that we always shared when I was growing up, and the Potter series was a huge part of that. A new book would come out and we would race to see who could finish it first. Sometimes he would read sections to me and I always love that his favorite character was Myrtle. And he had this wonderful sobbing Myrtle voice that’s totally different from what Shirley Henderson [Myrtle in the movies] ended up doing. [Laughter] But when I go back and I read those Myrtle sections I hear my father doing it. So it means a lot to me that I also get to do Myrtle in the show.

IK: And your Myrtle is so much fun!

MB: It was actually the one thing I requested: [that] Myrtle be in the series because I love that actress’s voice so much. Shirley Henderson — I’ve been watching her stuff on PBS for years. In the movie, she says to Daniel Radcliffe that she was in the bathtub with Cedric. So I actually said to Matt [Cox], it would be funny if we did that scene, and also, I would like to do a Shirley Henderson impression.

IK: I love that [thanks to that], we got to see the “Prefects are Hot” scene!

On the other Puffs parodies

IK: In Nineteen Years Later, what’s it like to do really emotional scenes between yourself [as Harry] and your sock puppet [as Albus Severus]?

MB: Oh, I love when you take really ridiculous silly characters, and you have to act genuinely. That makes it all the more funny, or all the more dark, or sad, when you have this ridiculous girl playing Harry yelling at her own hand with a sock puppet. So, yeah, I love it! It’s fun! Those are the best things about acting.

IK: And as for the other Wizard Night’s thing, you got to do Newt’s mating dance in Dude Where’s My Fantastic Beast? [In the parody, we see Eddie RedMayne learning how to do the mating dance by emulating his teacher, played by Nick Carrillo.]

MB: Well we, as a Puff team, we like to go to movies as a group regularly, just as a fun after-show get-together. So we all went to the Fantastic Beast movie together. The best part about watching movies with this group, more fun than just watching the movie, is hearing what Nick [Carrillo, who plays JFF and Zach Smith] thinks is funny. He’s got this beautiful laugh, so that was the most enjoyable part, seeing what parts Nick liked. That mating dance came on and Nick was like clapping and he was like “YES! Yes! I love this movie!” So I knew when he had to do the mating dance that he was gonna do something — he had it memorized! He was like, “I didn’t even go back and rewatch it, I memorized this thing.”

IK: It was pretty spot on.

MB: He loved that scene. So I knew he wasn’t gonna hold back, and I was like, crap, I’m gonna have to do it. But I was excited, because I was like I’m just going to do whatever Nick does. But I love when I get to be weird and gross and do something that no one would expect Maddie to do. That’s fine. And that’s the best part of being an actor, surprising people.

On Zach Smith’s deep vulnerability

IK: What’s your favorite Zach Smith line? [Zach Smith, played by Nick Carrillo, gets to improvise every night, usually with something hilarious and dirty that cracks up both audience and cast.]

MB: Zach Smith cracks me up almost every time. I love when they get dark and sad and they’re not actually sexual or dirty in any way, they actually become about how vulnerable he is. Because then you’re seeing where that attitude comes from, it’s actually coming from a place of deep vulnerability. [Laughter] And yeah, we never know what Nick is going to do and it’s always amazing every time. I love when he talks about how he actually wants a girlfriend and how his parents didn’t give him enough love. Those are my favorite ones.

Now playing at the Elektra Theater in NY, tickets and more can be found at Puffstheplay.com. Use promo code PuffsHype and save 10 percent!

Madeleine Bundy, in addition to acting in Puffs, also designed the show’s costumes and co-designed the props with Liz Blessing.

Designing a new version of the Wizarding World

IK: Tell me about your process. How did you begin crafting the props and the costumes for the show?

MB: The Harry Potter universe, has already been designed by a big production studio called WB, so that sets [up] a different list of expectations than when you’re coming into a show and you get to build from the ground up.

IK: You have to manage that it needs to look similar enough to the official stuff, but not too similar or you’ll get sued.

MB: Right. So we’re dealing with [the fact that] we don’t want to copy the costumes down to every last little detail because that’s gonna get us in some financial trouble. But we wanted a house to come in and immediately have a different set of expectations from what they were expecting [from] a Potter parody.

I was really influenced by Labyrinth. There’s this wonderful scene where Jennifer Connolly is falling down this well, and she is caught by all these hands, and the hands start talking to her, and the hands become puppets. So that’s where [it] started and it slowly transitioned to what we have now. That scene in Labyrinth sent me down this rabbit hole of research, of [asking] how WB decided to design the world.

I was really influenced by this wonderful article [saying] that Terry Gilliam was J.K.’s first choice to direct the series. And WB went, “You know, Terry Gilliam is nice but his movies are kind of scary and freaky and we really want this to be a really kid-friendly series.” And Terry Gilliam was so upset because he was like, “I know what this world looks like, I know how I want to do this.” And I was just struck by how passionate he was and how upset he was.

So I kind of went into this Terry Gilliam art world. [If] the WB series [is] under this person, this world looks very, very different. I’m not Terry Gilliam, I’m not going to be able to replicate what his style is, and I have my own aesthetic that I’m still developing. But I used [the] idea that someone else really wanted to do this world as inspiration for letting go and giving an audience permission to think about this world in a completely different way.

You know, you read the books and you have this idea of what everything looks like. And then you go see the movies and a production studio has told you, “This is what this world looks like.” So I hope that an audience member sitting down and seeing Puffs can have permission to go back to the books and rethink these things for themselves.

I love seeing movies and I love design in movies. Seeing those things and enjoying [them] is not bad by any means, but it is hard for us to go back to a piece of literature and allow [ourselves] permission to [not] have Daniel Radcliffe in your head when you read about Harry.

IK: Right, because you look as much like Harry as Dan Radcliffe does!

MB: Oh! Thank you. So that was my number one goal: besides the fact that we don’t want to copy the films for copyright reasons, I wanted everyone to have permission to think about this world that we love so much in a different way.

Outfitting the Puffs

IK: So, when you are designing stuff, how much input do the actors have in their costumes? How much input do Matt [Cox, the writer] and Kristin give you?

MB: It’s a little bit of everything. As an actor who’s also a designer, I see the value in asking an actor what they think they need to accomplish the project. We started at the People’s Improv Theatre. We put together the show very quickly, so actor’s input at that time was essential because we didn’t have any money for costumes. So I sort of had an outline of the general feel of what I wanted, but knowing that the clothes coming to me from our actors’ closets would be very pedestrian. But that kind of set in motion the feel of the whole show, it almost feels like this very handmade. It’s like eleven random actors got together and sort of pulled random stuff from their homes and that’s why Ron’s a mop, because it’s what we had.

IK: It almost gives you a feeling of kids playing [pretend], and how kids would realize [the world].

MB: Yeah, exactly. And that idea bleeds into how we chose our capes-as-uniform thing. Any time you sit down with a play, you always have to look at what the playwright [is] telling you are the problems to solve. Number one thing that we had to solve: what are these uniforms? Because Matt had this joke, at the top of Year Five, that everybody takes off their uniforms. So you need something to take off, but there’s eleven of us. We have to be able to distinguish who is who. Especially an audience coming in, they can’t tell me apart from Jessie [Cannizzaro] apart from Steve [Stout] apart from Nick [Carrillo]. We’re running around so quickly and we’re all playing twelve different characters. So I had to think about what everybody looks like. At the same time, everyone needs to have this object [to] take off for a joke in Year Five. So that’s where we got these sort of Little Red Riding Hood-esque black capes that we all wear.

IK: How did you go about giving each Puff a distinctive look? They’re supposed to be wearing school uniforms, black and yellow, but they each have their own distinct style. How did you tackle that?

MB: Back at the PIT, when we were brainstorming and figuring out what does this all look like, school uniforms were definitely up for discussion. That was what they were wearing for the first few films. Those are the descriptions in the books. Ultimately, what I ended up doing was looking at different kinds of prep school uniforms and [considering] which style matches each particular actor and their aesthetic, and what they functionally need to solve this problem.

It’s wonderful to direct and costume of a world of wizards, because they’re wizards. You can kind of bend the rules for what people wear, [and] why they wear [it]. It’s really interesting to look at the particular families in the Potter movies and what each family is wearing. Because I got this sense that this family dresses like they come from the Merlin era of wizards, but this family is kind of ’80s, and this family is kind of ’70s. So what if every Puff character had their own particular way of dressing based on the kind of family they come from [and] their particular background? We can use that to help our actors introduce these characters on stage.

Costumes on a budget

IK: Once you transferred off-Broadway and had an actual budget to work with, what did you throw the money at?

MB: We were really excited to get a little bit of budget for costumes and get rid of our pedestrian [clothes], so we were like, “Okay, what definitely worked and what didn’t work? What details can we add to shift things here and there?” As far as spending a budget on costumes, it’s a little all over the place. There’s gonna be some things that you magically find for a dollar, and there are gonna be some things that you have to choose to spend a lot of money on. You almost can’t plan where you’re gonna spend your money. But I went back to my old renderings and I [decided] we are going to make completely brand new renderings, we are gonna add story to all of these little costume pieces, and we are gonna do our best to find them as financially reasonably as possible.

Another aspect though that was really important to me, and a nice thing about having a lower budget for a show: I really wanted to reward an audience member who may be coming back a few more times. I wanted these characters to be cosplay-able. That was also a huge priority for me. If someone loves Leanne, [is] coming back to the show, and wanted to dress up like Leanne, it wouldn’t be incredibly difficult. There is a large number of items I actually did get off of Amazon, [so] people [could] buy these items. And then, check vintage stores [and] Goodwills.

IK: Speaking from experience, it actually was a little challenging to cosplay. I could not find [the Narrator’s] pants.

MB: My Narrator’s costume is 100% inspired by John Cleese from the Cheese Shop. I was just randomly watching Monty Python one day, and the Cheese Shop came on, and I was like, “Oh my god, that’s our narrator!” I’m amazed I found those pants. When you’re building a show so fast and you have a limited budget, it is a little bit of a crapshoot. So I had this idea for a pattern for the pants, but I thought, “Oh, I’m probably not going to find this, so I’ll find something similar.” But I was just in a vintage store one day and I saw those pants. And I thought, “This is kismet that these pants are here. I literally drew these two days ago and now they’re here in front me.” They needed a lot of hemming and they were way too big on AJ [Ditty], but these [were] the pants!

[So when] costuming on a small budget and very quickly, you do your best to get as close to your renderings as possible. But more important than being accurate to your renderings, what story are you telling with these details?

Storytelling through a color

MB: There’s a lot of storytelling that we do with the color yellow, which is really important. There’s definitely a version of this show where everybody is in yellow. But I wanted to be very specific about what we did with the color yellow. I wanted to tell a story with it, because it’s the thing that represents the Puffs. So every single person has a little yellow detail, instead of having these head-to-toe garments, and how much yellow was sort of indicative of how much pride [they] have for the House. So for example, Cedric comes on and he’s got this big yellow vest. Leanne, who is very proud of being a Puff, has this bright yellow sweater which transitions into that big yellow bow on the back of her head. We’ve got J. Finch, who has one suspender that’s yellow. Susie’s got this yellow belt. Oliver has this yellow tie.

Megan, who is anti-Puff, doesn’t wear any yellow. And then, as the play goes on, and she is a little more comfortable with who she is and she falls in love with Oliver. This is my Megan backstory. [She] spends a summer with Oliver and comes back, and all of a sudden has this Nirvana T-shirt, and the Nirvana logo that we all know is yellow. Then by the end of the play, when we’re all proud of being Puffs, everybody’s got a little bit of yellow except for Wayne, who is distraught about everything that [has] happened. But Dumbles gets to Wayne. As Wayne goes off at the end, he gets that little bit of that yellow back. So, again, these are very minute little details. I don’t know if we’ll get a house who will pick up on it 100%, but that’s the storytelling that we’re trying to tell with that color.

Socks

MB: Another favorite: there’s actually an Easter egg with Oliver’s socks, who’s played by Langston [Belton]. At the end of the show, Megan declares that she is a Puff because her socks don’t match. If you are sitting in the front row and you can see our feet, you’ll see that our socks do not match. But a couple actors have very specific mismatched socks. Leanne’s socks are totally mismatched in a different way from someone like Oliver’s because they’re both Puffs, but they’re completely different people. So, if you look at Leanne’s socks, she’s got one grey sock that’s long with this bow on the back and then she’s got one polka dot sock with a stripe of yellow going around the top. If you look at [Oliver]’s socks at the top of the show, his socks are also mismatched. But they’re both grey, and they’re both argyle, but they’re two different kinds of argyle.

Now, [Oliver] wears shorts at the top of the show, and after Year Three, his shorts turn into pants. So by the time you get that line about the mismatched socks, [Oliver]’s socks are gone, but if you [had been] looking at his feet, you would notice that his socks don’t match. I don’t imagine in a million years anybody has seen that or would even remember that, but it’s a little detail that’s important to me. Eleven actors [who] are wearing mismatched socks are gonna act in a different way than eleven actors whose socks are all matching. It’s just gonna tonally shift everybody, even if it’s that tiny little thing in the back of their head. So that’s the kind of influence a designer can have on a performer. You can change how they perform even with something as dumb as [them] wearing mismatched socks.

Easter eggs in the show

MB: I can tell you a couple of favorite little details about the costumes that I really love that I don’t think anybody has noticed. Like they’re sort of my own little personal treasures. Specifically, the Dumbles [Dumbledore] hats. Dumbles, our headmaster, is played by two different actors. They share a bathrobe, a sleepy-time cap, [and] half-moon glasses. And the half-moon glasses are the detail that I got from the book. So that was really important to me that I find that specific shape.

But if you look at the brim of the Dumbles hats, there are these letters all over the fabric. I just found this fabric randomly in a store one day and was like, “Oh my gosh, this is the headmaster’s fabric.” ‘Cause there’s that wonderful quote about words that he has, that words are our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of inflicting injury and remedying it, and I just think that quote is so beautiful. And so I wanted something in that costume that was reminiscent of that quote.

[Note: For those wondering about this quote, it’s from the last movie, not any of the books. We had to look it up.]

And you know, that’s not a detail that an audience is going to see, but it is a detail that I know about and that forces me to think about the pieces in a level of detail that this world deserves.

IK: I love how many Easter eggs you threw in there. I love that the dragon’s costume is the four colors of the dragons.

MB: Matt has this line [that] references all four dragons, but we only have one dragon, so I [thought], “We gotta throw all four colors in there.” But Cedric’s dragon is blue, and that’s why the wings are blue, that’s the dominant color.

IK: And I love how Xavia Jones’s prison number is 24601 upside down.

MB: That was my dumb little musical theatre joke. If you look at the prison signs that they have in the film, they’ve got these random symbols on it, so that was sort of my joke ripping off of that. Obviously, it’s a Les Mis reference. It’s also kind of a Sideshow Bob reference, his prisoner number is 24601. It’s just a silly little musical theatre joke.

Sorting Hat

MB: I imagine a stranger coming in, sitting down, and seeing the Sorting Hat come out and it’s not the image from the films that we all know. I imagine [they]’re gonna go “Wait, what’s going on?” You know, this Sorting Hat is a giant fortune teller.

IK: I love that it’s a giant cootie catcher!

MB: I’m glad you think that, because that was very difficult to come up with. We’re answering the question of “What is the Puff hat?” My first rule designing the show: I didn’t want any witch hats. I don’t want any witch hats in the entire show because we know what witches look like, we know what they wear. I told [Kristin McCarthy] Parker, our director, that I would really prefer that we try to figure [this] out: if Ron is a mop (which is one of the few design details that Matt Cox gave us in the script), we have to figure out what everything else is. We tried a couple different versions of what the Sorting Hat was.

Dementor

IK: What was the hardest [prop] for you?

MB: Oh gosh, if you want to hear about when I broke down and cried… Liz Blessing and I split the workload with the props evenly and Michelle Kelleher, our lighting designer, helped out with a couple of the props. We love the show so much, and we want to do right by it so much. Sometimes you have a goal for what you want an object to look like and your first try is not successful.

We found a lot of stuff in our apartments and random little warehouses, and [we] only have access to so many tools. I love our scary security guards [dementors] from the wizard prison. I wanted to build these giant spooky hands.

IK: Oh, the dementor, that came out epic!

MB: Yes, it’s made out of garbage. I wanted to make those hands out of very humble material. But I wanted them to be a particular size. So I think the ones that we’re using now, I think that was my third version of them. The first two, they were too big or they were too heavy. There was no way an actor could wield them. That was definitely my struggle, when I was building the show: those security guard hands. But they’re functional and they’re still up and running, so yay!

Any show, even big Broadway shows, need repair. You have these objects that are being thrown around everywhere. Everything’s gonna have wear and tear and need a little TLC now and then. But Liz and Michelle and I [have] been really happy with the upkeep of the objects, because they weren’t supposed to last this long and they have.

Basilisk

IK: I’m super impressed with the basilisk.

MB: The giant snake is very Terry Gilliam influenced.

IK: How’d you make it?

MB: That, I made that in my apartment. It’s made out of very humble materials. It’s large, but if you pick it up, it’s pretty light because it’s hollow. Liz put all of these beautiful lights in all of our puppets — and if there was a problem, I wanted someone to be able to repair them easily. It’s made out of foam, and the covering is actually that Home Depot fake grass rug that you can get for your patio. That’s how I got this weird sort of snake texture.

The giant snake was something we discussed a lot – Parker, Liz, and myself – because we love this idea of [an] animal that’s been underground for a really, really, really long time, and sort of has cabin fever. What does that animal look like? That’s why it’s kind of wide-eyed and looks a little crazed: because it’s been inside too long and it really needs some sun. And it’s growing algae and it’s got cobwebs. At the PIT it was basically a giant sock puppet. That was definitely something that we wanted to add a lot more detail to when we moved to the Elektra.

Thanks to Maddie for doing this interview with us! And thanks to Janet Tang for transcribing it! If you want to see all of Maddie’s designs live on stage, and attempt to spot all these Easter eggs, go see Puffs. Now playing at the Elektra Theater in NY, tickets and more can be found at Puffstheplay.com. Use code PuffsHype and save 10 percent!

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