By Ian Christopher Beck ’12
An old man with a long white beard and floppy wizard’s hat lumbers onto the stage and the crowd goes wild.
Dumbledore has to pause for a moment while the crowd cheers.
However, this isn’t really Dumbledore and the crowd isn’t cheering for the beloved character from the “Harry Potter” series.
The man wearing the beard and the hat is none other than Sunil Kataria ’12, a senior who English teacher Ms. Deborah Kauffman described as a “teddy bear of a kid.”
Kataria played Dumbledore in last year’s student production of “A Very Potter Musical,” but his theatrical exploits are not limited to the Harry Potter parody.
He also played Maurice in Xavier’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” last fall and most recently played Barnaby in Xavier’s spring production of “The Matchmaker.”
“I love putting on that grey hair and I wish I could put it on again,” Kataria said of his performance in “Beauty and the Beast.” “That show meant a lot to me and I’m just so proud to perform for so many people that went and saw it and I wish I could thank them.”
However, Kataria’s involvement extends beyond the stage.
He is also the vice president of Key Club, a co-founder of the TV Club and a member of the Calc Club.
“We only go to high school once, right?” he said. “The first half of high school I didn’t do much and I’m regretting that so I’m trying to be max involved now. And by being involved you meet new friends and it’s just a great thing.”
But acting and other extracurricular activities aren’t Kataria’s only defining attributes.
Rather, it is his humor that garners the senior the most renown.
“My sister taught me how to be funny,” he said. “We’re like a tag team and we’re just funny freaks and just around my family I like to make them laugh and also I love making my friends laugh. All of us come together.”
Ms. Kauffman, who teaches Kataria in her AP English IV class, sees that sense of humor day-in, day-out.
“I think that he’s one of these young men who is always looking on the bright side and he works very hard but balances that hard work with … an infectious sense of humor,” she said.
Rishav Saghera ’12 has known Kataria since eighth-grade and said he holds the funny man in high regard.
“Sunil is very outgoing and amiable,” Saghera said. “He loves being the center of attention, and he’s good at it. If anyone is feeling blue, Sunil knows exactly how to cheer them up. Because Sunil is so easily approachable, everyone wants to be his friend. I think Sunil is a great guy, he’s comical, artsy and intelligent.”
Saghera called Kataria’s humor indescribable.
“He has the ability to make something that is insignificant into something that is hilarious and important,” Saghera said. “He creates relationships with people and has inside jokes with almost every single person he knows. I think Sunil’s humor is something to be honored; he is one of the funniest people on campus.”
Reflecting back on how he has changed since freshman year, Kataria said he sees a lot less shyness in his former self.
“I guess I used to be timid,” he said, noting that more recently he sees himself as more outgoing.
“I’m just glad I went out and tried and I’m glad I put my best foot forward,” he said. “I’m glad I tried to get involved and do get involved.”