By DAVID DIXON | La Mesa Courier
There is no shortage of “Harry Potter” fans in San Diego County. However, very few have had the opportunity to be involved with shows that pay homage to, or are inspired by, J.K. Rowling’s popular series.
One of those fans is La Mesa resident Kevin Patrick Lohmann, and he’s currently starring in the comedy “Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic.” The production is the inaugural staging from the semi-professional theater company, The Eastern, in association with Powpac, Poway’s Community Theatre.
Lohmann didn’t always plan to become an actor. For a senior project at Helix Charter High School, however, he decided to direct and write a short film, while his friend directed a play. They agreed to help each other out in their respective projects.
“I auditioned for his production of ‘Ten Little Indians,’ and I told him to give me the smallest part,” he said. “He ended up casting me in the biggest part, and I fell in love with acting.”
After studying acting in college and performing in various plays, Lohmann took a five-year break from the theater. After hearing about auditions for “Puffs,” however, he decided to audition for the show.
“I spoke with my wife about it, and we both felt like it was the one play that I couldn’t pass up,” he said.
When he was younger, Lohmann was more invested in the “Harry Potter” movies than the books. This changed in college, where Lohmann gravitated towards, and made friends with, others who loved the series. His enjoyment of Rowling’s work grew, and the franchise made a positive impact on his life.
“It provided me, and a lot of people in my generation, with a way to view the world,” he said.
As a result, the actor started a YouTube channel devoted to the books. Owing to the time involved in starring in “Puffs,” however, this endeavor is currently on a hiatus, but he plans on launching a fourth season of a “Harry Potter” book club on the channel.
The play tells an original story. Lohmann plays the American boy Wayne Hopkins who, after finding out that he’s a wizard, goes to London to begin classes at the legendary School of Magic and Magic. Of the four school houses that students are placed into, Wayne is chosen to be a Puff. Along with his new housemates and friends Oliver (Kevin Phan) and Megan (Sterling Amara), Wayne hopes to make an impact on the world.
Unfortunately, the students in the Puff house are underdogs and generally unpopular.
Given this, an aspect about Wayne that Lohmann really appreciates is the confidence that the character maintains throughout the script.
“I love that he believes in himself and that he’s special,” he says. “Wayne takes his knocks along the way, but he always finds ways to keep training and believing that he’s at the center of the tale being told.”
Lohmann has had ties to La Mesa for most of his life. Although he grew up in Lemon Grove, his high school education was in this part of the county.
“It wasn’t where my house was, but it was my home,” he said.
After Lohmann and his wife returned to the county, they moved to La Mesa when he started to study for his Master’s degree in 2013.
The star of the show lives around the Lake Murray area of the city, and he loves walking around the reservoir. Other favorite activities include eating Mexican food at El Azteca Taco Shop and spending time with his daughter at one of the local parks.
“Puffs” isn’t the only thing that Lohmann has been working on in the theater world. He is currently working as the associate director of marketing at the San Diego Repertory Theatre.
Lohmann wouldn’t want to be involved in future acting roles if they get too much in the way of his work or the time spent with his family. Still, he hopes to be a part of other shows when he feels he can make the time to perform.
While Matt Cox’s script is a comedy, Lohmann loves the underlying theme of the plot.
“This play is really for people who don’t feel like they are the main character in their own story,” he said. “I think they’ll realize that feeling isn’t always true.”
“Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic” is running at PowPac, Poway’s Community Theatre through July 21. For tickets or more information, visit theeasternsd.com or call 619-768-3821.
— David Dixon is a local freelance film and theater writer.