by Anika Larsen

Last week, Jaradoa hosted its first ever Radio Playaz ‘Sup Party!

What in tarnation is that, you ask?
Well, Radio Playaz are our most faithful Jaradoa Radio Theater volunteers, the folks we can rely on to be there to perform for the old folks, to listen to and love on the elderly, to get their intergenerational relationships on til the briggity break o’ dawn.

But still, you may ask, what in heckfire is a ‘Sup Party?
That’s a “Script Unveiling Pizza & beer” Party. (Do you like how “Pizza and beer” all squeezes into the “P” of the acronym? If linguistic gymnastics were an Olympic event, we would totally podium.) It’s a party to read the latest radio play script, the one we’re next going to be bringing to the 6 nursing homes we visit. But it’s really an excuse for us to hang with our volunteers, for us all to get the time to fraternize that we don’t have at the radio plays themselves.

We had the ‘Sup Party in a swanky Tribeca loft, generously made available to us by a friend of mine named Allen. Allen has gorgeous hardwood and leather floors, so no shoes are allowed, which means I warned people to wear nice socks, and they showed up rockin’ some beauts! Of course, there was pizza, really delicious thin crust pizza, so delicious we did not have the leftovers I was hoping to leave in the fridge as a thanks to Allen for use of his pad. And there was beer. Heinekin, which had a few takers. But far more popular was the case of Coronitas, which are adorable little 7 oz. Coronas. Put a wedge of lime in the top, and you’ve got yourself a mini-fiesta! I myself may have had five or six. Or seven–don’t judge me, they’re teeny!

Now I’m not gonna lie to ya, we didn’t actually know how the ‘Sup Party was going to turn out, because we’d never done it before. Turns out they are hecka fun! First of all, it’s a fabulous excuse to say “‘Sup” to everyone you greet there (I tried to get the doorman of the swanky Tribeca loft building to say “Sup” to all who came, but apparently he did it once to someone who didn’t get it and then he gave up).

People arrived, un-shoed, grabbed a beer and a slice and mingled. (Some folks, i.e., our Marketing Director Eric Emch, were not afraid to double fist – see the bottom photo.) It was a really diverse group of Jaradoa peeps: Members, Allies, Radio Playaz, staff and interns. Folks were having such a fun time socializing that I had to be reminded to get the actual reading of the radio play started. I passed out scripts, assigned parts, and away we went.

Radio plays work best if you make a big vocal choice, like a crazy accent or a silly voice. Daryl Ray Carliles whipped out a delightful Irish accent to play the detective, which felt appropriate considering it was the day before St. Patrick’s Day. He made it seem like the detective was after both a murderer and his Lucky Charms. Brandon Giles was brow-beaten by yours truly into doing an accent for the butler (butlers should always have accent, am I right, people?), but the only accent in his arsenal was southern, so we had an intermittently Texan butler. April Nickell was reading Announcer 2, and she ambitiously started out with a lateral lisp, but learned that they are not for the faint of heart, and abandoned it shortly thereafter.

Tommy Labanaris was incredibly, hilariously earnest as the leading man, and showed us all that if cold reading were an Olympic event, he would totally podium. Stephanie Martinez was more masculine than any of us would ever have imagined possible as the dead man’s brother. And Patryce Williams was the sassiest secretary I’ve ever known – until she got killed.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the evening was the music. When we got to the places in the script that called for a song, we played our beer bottles. And friends, Coronitas make sweet, sweet music, no matter how much beer might be in them.

What did we learn from this day? We learned that we should drink beer before every radio play, even the real ones in front of audiences. We’re a lot funnier Radio Playaz after a Coronita or seven.