By Eric Emch
As the Marketing Director of Jaradoa Theater, I have a lot of unique responsibilities. I adopt the “voice” of Jaradoa and create facebook status updates; I take photos from Play On! and meticulously cut out the students from the background; I have a weekly meeting with April that usually ends in beer drinking/life evaluation. But never before have I had the responsibility of being on stage.
When Anika asked me to participate in last Saturday’s Radio Play, my first reaction was “absolutely not.” I’m not an actor — I don’t want to be an actor. However, I hadn’t seen Anika in a while, nor had I ever seen a Radio Play, so I nervously agreed. I received the script and was assigned a role (Announcer 2 – holla!), and even practiced out loud in my apartment which loud/zany accent I would use (Radio Plays sound better with bold vocal choices, apparently).
The day of the Radio Play, everyone showed up at Bishop Mugavero Nursing Home in Brooklyn and my fears immediately faded. Everyone was so excited to be there and eager to entertain that I quickly jumped on the fun-times bandwagon. Not to mention our audience (the elderly folk of the nursing home) was lively and completely ready for our performance. And the performance was a hoot and a half! I read my lines with the only accent I’m confident in (a Palin-esque Midwestern accent — I’m from Ohio, what can I say?) and mostly shouted my lines. Everyone else was HI-larious and our singing talent was out-of-control good. When I wasn’t laughing hysterically my jaw was dropped hearing Anika sing her face off or watching Telly epitomize a “triple threat.”
While the actual play was such fun to be a part of, the hands down best part of the day was the post-show sing along with the residents and the conversations that followed. The two women I sang by for the sing along were not shy by any means, and performed (mostly to themselves) a stirring rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Mary and Gladys had both sung for their church choirs — and both women were full of stories and anecdotes that were yearning to be told. And I couldn’t get enough! Looking around the room at all the story-swapping, I felt such pride to be a part of Jaradoa and such honor that this fascinating and important community was so willing and eager to share their lives with us.
I think I’m still on a high from the hilarity and good times that ensued at Saturday’s Radio Play. If any of you ever get a chance to participate (whether you’re an actor or not), do it! If all else fails, you can just yell the lines using your best Sarah Palin accent.