gmhTODAY 12 gmhToday Jan Feb 2017 - Page 96

Theater Scene A Conversation With John Varela John Varela has lived in our little corner of South County since the late 1970s. He served as a member of the Morgan Hill City Council in the early ‘90s and as Mayor in 1995-96. In 2016, he was elected to the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Recently I sat down with John to learn about his background in theater. His responses to my questions were so enjoyable that I decided to share them with you in our original Q and A format. I hope you enjoy my conversation with John Varela as much as I did. Written By Matthew Russell Hendrickson Q: John, when did you start acting? I started acting in high school. My most memorable theater experience was performing at the world-famous Pasadena Playhouse in a competitive review of Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story” in the role of Peter. Peter is a shy introverted, mind- your-own-business kind of guy, confronted in Central Park by Jerry, a young thug testing Peter’s resolve. In an unusual twist of fate, roles reverse as Peter must defend his honor when Jerry unexpectedly threatens Peter with a knife, then hands Peter the knife, then rushes at Peter, impaling himself and screaming, “Oh My God!” It was my first acting experience, in a one-act play, at age 16. and returned to theater in the early ‘80s after attending your parents’ now famous “Center Stage.” I filled in one of those little postcards on the table asking the question “Have you ever considered acting? If so, please fill in this card and leave it with us.” Well, I received a call from Russ Hendrickson soon after, inviting me to come and read a script for an upcoming show, “The Foreigner.” I was cast as David. The show was fabulous and launched my desire to get back on stage . Aside from Pasadena Playhouse, my stage appearances have been primarily in South County. There is so much going on here. Center Stage, located in Gilroy, was my play-ground, eventually relocating to “Old City Hall” where the fabulous “Angry Housewives” was performed, and of course South Valley Civic Theater, offering so much opportunity in venues throughout Gilroy and Morgan Hill. Also with the Pintello Family entering to fill