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UVT Blog

Ode to Mr. Varner


Junior High was a tough time for me. You know how it is when you're at the awkward age of 14. I was bullied quite a bit during this period of my life and I am sure many of you reading this blog can relate. I didn't have many friends, and I was a bit of a misfit.


After plenty of trepidation, I had decided to audition for the Spring One-Act plays at Fred Moore Junior High. I was petrified. No confidence whatsoever. I knew I could play different characters, but that was at home and mostly with puppets! Mr. Varner, the Director of Theater, asked that we all create a character and adlib for the audition. Are you kidding me? As if auditioning wasn't frightening enough! I was scared to death. The play was about a class reunion. I was to play a shy kid in school and then come back to the reunion transformed into someone else. A pretty clever idea for a Junior High play!


The worst part of audition day was listening to the kids in the room laughing at what the other actors were doing. They were clever and hilarious! I nearly walked out of the room and quit. No way was I going to be as funny as these talented kids.


It was finally my turn. I had no idea what the hell I was going to do. How can I make this funny? What if nobody laughs? Or even worse, what if they laugh at me because it's so bad! I stood there for a second, and then in a flash, I went to a place I never thought I could get to. I had decided that this shy kid had become a rock star. I moved through the classroom like David Lee Roth. I can't remember what I said, but people laughed, including Mr. Varner. What a relief. Somehow I broke out of my shell and just went for it!


Two days later, I went to do the bulletin board to see if my name was on the list of actors who made the play. I got the part! This instantly made my entire year. Since then, I have performed in about three dozen plays.


What does this have to do with voiceovers? I honestly believe that if it weren't for Mr. Varner and the theater program at Fred Moore, I would not be a voice actor today. He got me out of my shell, and I haven't looked back since. It was a real milestone because Junior High was hell. So, cheers to Mr. Varner, who passed away about ten years ago. I will never forget him. It seems like a clouded memory at this point but one that will stick with me for the rest of my life.