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By April Nickell
I listen to a lot of podcasts and every now and then tears spring to my eyes on the subway. I am always surprised by this and try to figure out what has moved me. It is often because of human connection. I just listened to a Bill Moyers about activism where he interviews Howard Zinn. He tells about Janora Dalinger, a 23 yr. old woman who, while at a sit-in strike against unfair working conditions of the 1930’s, got on a loud speaker and rallied the crowed against the violent police. The men tried to stop her from getting involved but she pushed them away. Her speech made women walk into the chaos of the protest in order to help the powers that be see the violence of their acts. Men don’t like to hurt women. What is it that allows an individual to walk into violence in order to bring about change? It is connectedness. You may get hurt or die but you are part of something bigger than you. There is power when we realize we belong to each other.
This woman’s voice caused action and then the retelling of the story affected me. Encouraging people to tell their stories and listen to others stories is what Jaradoa is all about. I keep thinking about what Jaradoa has done on the very limited budgets we have and thinking that none of it is possible if we didn’t feel like we belonged together. (if any of you Lost fans are feeling like Rose in the final season thinking – “if you say ‘live together, die alone’ one more time, I’m going to hurt you!” rest assured – I leave that line to the high drama of Lost!)
Here we are heading into load in this week with very limited staff and funding but what happens is volunteers, members and friends show up to help make it happen. Some of my favorite memories are looking around the theater in the middle of load in and seeing, writers, actors, directors, designers, friends, my neighbors and even my parents working on something. I think this even playing field of everyone diving in and doing what they can for the production is what makes our play time like the Kicknick or ‘family’ potluck so much fun. I am not saying painting a set is the same as this woman’s rallying speech, but I am saying what makes either of them work is the same thing – knowing we belong to each other.
There is no outside, no other, only all. Jaradoa is a family now and hope everyone we encounter can become part of that family and remember this whole city, country and planet are part of that family. We belong to each other. We are on the same team. So we love. That is the team we are on. The loving body of the universe!
(Click here for a link to the Bill Moyers Thee Journal that made me cry! He interviews Howard Zinn around 28:00 minutes)
Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Daryl Ray Carliles, most people call me Daryl, but if you’re one of my students, you call me Mr. Daryl. I am an actor who has been living in New York for the past three years and I was happy to have the opportunity to become a member of Jaradoa Theater last year.
Now every story has a beginning and I want to enlighten you a little bit about mine. Upon my first year of college, I was given two opportunities at the same time. Based on my performance at local theaters in North Carolina, I was given the chance to teach music and drama at a charter school, which allowed me to not only to teach, but also be in charge of directing and producing two plays for the students to perform each year. I found this to be one of the most rewarding experiences up to that point in my life. I was also offered an acting scholarship to a two-year college for a Musical Theater degree. Now this created a moment of truly difficult decision because I felt as though my path as an actor would never fully fulfill me on the same level as being a teacher, yet it was still very much a passion that I had to pursue. I chose to become an actor.
So upon that decision, I moved away and began my acting career, which eventually led me to New York City where I became a professional actor, all the while holding on to the thoughts that hopefully one day I would be able to teach again and also inspire the same passion for performing that I felt.
Since becoming a member if Jaradoa Theater, I have also been involved in our Play On! Literacy Program which involves us as teaching artists going into schools lacking funding for the arts. The Play On! Literacy Program, consists of two teachers over a six week period helping the students to write their own plays by developing characters, finding conflict and working towards a resolution. The end result of the program is the opportunity to perform their own plays in front of their peers, teachers, and family.
On a personal level, since being a part of this program I have continued to grow as an artist simultaneously with these students, which has been incredibly fulfilling.
July starts our Off-Broadway production of I’ll Be Damned which allows me the opportunity to perform and fulfill the dream that I was driven to choose. In July we will also be having our Summer Jam Event, where one of my recent students will be able to perform a play he wrote in front of hundreds of people, which means a lot to me.
This means a lot to me because during the first week of class we allowed the students to share personal stories in helping to develop their characters. I was really touched by his personal story. He was encouraged by our Artistic Director April Nickell to use his feelings to help develop his play. So through out the process he was very brave in sharing with the class, and upon informing him of the decision to put his play in our show, his excitement and pride created the full realization that I had once again been a part of something bigger than me: inspiring a young artist to truly believe in himself.
I also find it a little serendipitous that two worlds I thought would have to remain separate have come together at the same time in my life, and have and proven once and for all that you really can have the best of both worlds.
by Amanda Holland
Last week Jaradoa held its first annual Kicknic (kickball game + picnic), and it was more fun than anyone even anticipated. Jaradoa ally Amanda Holland (a.k.a. Clogs) was moved to blog about the silly-fun, belly-stuffing good time!
On a gorgeous and somewhat sunny Monday, several members of Jaradoa (Jaradoans) gathered for a day of fierce competition, to play the most grueling sport in the whole US of A… kickball. Several children came to use the field, but once we kicked them off (and by “kicked off”, I mean let them use it while we had a feast) it was time to play! First game pit the hometown heroes “UnbelievaBalls” against their long time nemesis “Shake Your Beauty”. Both teams struggled with their defense but in the last few innings “UnbelievaBalls” came out on top.
The players rehydrated, ate a bunch more, then gathered themselves and it was on to the final game… “Wonderballs” vs. “Rock Out with Your Balls Out”. “Wonderballs” swept the other team in a stunning victory that can only be called legendary. Both winning teams were lead by Athletic Director and long time kickball lover, Chris Harbur. But on a serious note, it was amazing! A real taste of summer in May! Most people at the event only knew one or two people, but by the end of the day we all knew we would be close facebook friends. And the food! So much! Thankfully a lot of liquid as well.
I hope the Kicknic becomes a monthly or bi-monthly thing because that was just WAY too fun to be annual! Jaradoans really know how to have a good time!
This February, we came down with a mean case of the Jarabowlaz… especially our Athletic Director, Chris Harbur. Collected here for your enjoyment are excerpts from the emails Chris sent out in advance of our weekly bowling matches. By the end of the season, the Jarabowlaz were on pins and needles waiting to see what he’d say next. (Did you catch that, with the pins? It’s a bowling reference! Ok, Chris is better at bringin’ the funny than we are, so keep reading.)
Your very own Jarabowlaz (Jaradoa + bowling + the letter “z”… see what we did there?) will be hittin’ the lanes for the very first time!
We are all super excited to be in the Broadway Bowling League and just wanted to extend an invitation to all of you Jaradoa supporting people. It’s $15 to bowl two games, and you also can just come, support, have a drink and say hi to your fellow Broadway people, cheer us on and dance to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s bowling playlist! This is your captain, Chris “Thunder Strike” Harbur signing off…..
I think everyone who showed up last week will be in a general state of agreeance (yes that term was more popularly used circa 1919) that Thursday’s bowling was one of the most fun things done in a long while! With that in mind, this Thursday will be for points! No pressure–as we found out last week, you can literally bowl worse than a Northern Canadian field mouse and still win because you get to add as many as 200 points to your score!
Bowl boldly, my friends.
Oh, biscuits, we’re in 4th…
That said, I can pretty much guarantee that if you make your way on down to Port Authority Bus Terminal this Thursday night at 11pm you will do the following:
1) Laugh at least 6 times
2) Dance to a song from every decade
3) Do the “strike” dance (you’ll just have to see it for yourself)
4) MOONWALK (it’s sooooo much easier with bowling shoes on)
Ridiculous…. We are a bunch of goofy laughing hyenas at the bowling alley and have managed to be the best closing team in the Broadway Show League. Last week everyone had to bowl a good last frame to win their match up and DID! I feel like a proud stage mom….
Tonight we will return, in third place, bearing the metaphoric bronze medal and waving our Jarabowland country flag high, singing our famous song: “Jarabowland! Jarabowland! Hear our cries and fear our bowlin…d….!”
I love you all.
Last week, the 15+ Jarabowlaz supporters witnessed a tiny slice of history as we beat the best team in the league 14-9. They are the unruly but hugely dominating “Balls Deep” team. These guys are scary. Not in the physical, vocal or snappy-dressing kinda way, but in a theatrical, eccentric, bowl-your-face-hole-off way. How did we do this, you may ask? Was it our will to bowl? Our desire to spread mercy, beauty, truth and bowling ball cheer to everyone? Or is it the fact that we get excited after EVERY BALL THROWN no matter where it ends up or who throws it?… Technically, none of these things, but MAN were we impressive!
Look gang, let’s get straight to it. We are .5 points out of FIRST. (1/2 a point!!) Amazing.
The bowling debut of our newest Jaradoa Member, Shelley “Spicy Vanilla Heat” Thomas, re-energized an already potent Jarabowlaz line up and propelled us to new heights. This is the closest we have ever been to first place. This week is a position week so we will be bowling that 1st place “Balls Deep” team from South Pacific….. grrrr. Our fearless co-captain, “Balls Wellington” (Brandon Giles), will be steering the Good Ship Jara-pop. I will miss you all this week.
Somebody’s in fiiiiirst…. And that somebody is U-S! Wooo! We rock.
Under the fearless tutelage of our co-captain, “Balls Wellington III,” the “A Team” from South Pacific fell like Humpty-Dumpty after a long night of partying. Come if you want a little taste of what being a national bowling champ feels like.
Tomorrow night is our wing party at Shorty’s…. and the Championship Game.
I felt a legitimate goose bump form on my right forearm as I wrote that subject line just now. I am pretty excited that we will playing for the Championship against a team that actually practices on Monday nights in Queens. We are 2.5 points behind so we gotta win, and we gotta win by 3 points to take home the coveted “Golden Tap Shoe.” Actually, I have no idea what award is given if you win the Broadway Bowling League, but I can imagine it will be something like that.
If you are indifferent about bowling, come hang out and watch the most improbable sporting outcome happen since that hockey team beat that other hockey team in that movie that came out a little while ago.
THIS IS THE BIG ONE! Also the last one. Who’s with me?!?!
So we finished the year in 2nd place…. I feel pretty darn good about that. I think that anyone who ever came to bowl with us would agree that it was something truly exciting to look forward to each week. There aren’t many people on this planet that put more good vibes into an atmosphere than the good people of Jaradoa Theater. 🙂 Well my friends, it’s time for Chris “Thunder Strike/ I Have a 127 Pin Bowling Average” Harbur to sign off for this season with the Jarabowlaz chant that got us all the way to #2: “Mercy, Beauty, Truth, BALLS!”
I love you all and will see you at the Kicknick on May 17th!
JARADOA THEATER’S FIRST ANNUAL
(Kicknic = kickball game + picnic!)
On Monday, May 17th
from 2:00-5:30 in Central Park
(If you read in our last email that it was on May 24th, you were misinformed by someone who is an enthusiastic Director of Community but apparently a poor proofreader. The 24th is our rain date.)
We’re playing kickball, y’all! And eating foodstuffs!
We even got us a permit to play on Heckscher Field #3 (click here for a map), so we’re legit!
Come play, or watch, or chow down, or just enjoy the blossoming of spring.
Friends, family, babies, pets – all are welcome at The Kicknic, so spread the word!
The Kicknic is a potluck, so please let us know that you’re coming and what you’d like to bring!
Hit Anika, Community Director and faulty proofreader, back at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can know how many we’re expecting, what food we’ve got, and where to fill in the holes.
We’re wicked psyched, folks!
We’ve already started a strenuous regimen of kick workouts…
HOMETOWN: “Miami, but I was born in Winnipeg, and have dual citizenship with Canada.”
WHY JARADOA? “The opportunity to serve in the community using my talents is something I’ve always wanted to have, and this is the perfect mix of people willing to do that. Also, during Jaradoa productions, every member is involved on every level, giving a better appreciation for what we do, what theater is.”
THE DANGERS OF BROADWAY: “A few days before opening night of In the Heights, my Broadway debut, during the onstage fight scene I got punched in the face so hard my teeth went through my lip and I ended up in the emergency room. I couldn’t move my mouth, couldn’t sing, so I didn’t know if I could perform on opening night. My mom told me to just do it. So stage management worked it out so that I could be in the show while my understudy sang my parts offstage!”
FILM DEBUT: “Playing Jennifer Hudson’s boyfriend in the Sex and the City movie. After the first scene I shot with her, she said, “Come back to my trailer.” When we got there, she asked, “You want some chicken wings?” I couldn’t believe it! I said, “Wait a stinkin’ minute, you’re a chicken wing lover too?!? You have an Oscar! And you have chicken wings! Do stars really eat chicken wings?!?” The answer was yes. And now, because Jennifer Hudson wears her chicken wing badge with pride, who am I to lie to the world about who I am? From now on I will wear it on my sleeve…”
Joshua wrote a rap about his love of the chicken wing. Wanna see it?
Let me come right out and say that possibly the most excited I have been all year was when I was nominated captain of Jaradoa’s bowling team. I quickly grabbed the nickname “Thunder Strike” and the rest is history.
One of the other sides of this pretty sweet theater company I take part in is teaching our Play On! program at MS 22 in the Bronx. It’s job 10 out of 12 for me… yes, all exaggerations aside, I have 12 jobs at any given time. Anything from organizing and running little Sally’s horse-themed birthday party (with real live plastic horses!), to working for the U.S. Census Bureau, to teaching English to Japanese people via skype, I have a wide spectrum of employment at any given moment.
But still, I don’t really think I could ever be a full-time teacher. It’s hard, reaaaalllyyyy hard, but with MS 22, we just go in two days a week and help 6th, 7th and 8th graders conquer their fears of writing a play and acting. We explore different and more theatrical ways to listen and respond to texts and I think most importantly, we give them a truly safe environment to be creative, where our #1 rule is to never, ever laugh at anyone’s ideas.
Middle school kids are tough. You have to earn their trust, and they may resist you for weeks, but the second you are “in” with them, you’re in for life. These kids have tremendous stories, and without a program like this, how else would they get to tell them?
This week I joined the Xanadu tour as Kira for some rollerskating, disco-licious fun times. In the original Broadway cast I understudied Kira, the Olivia Newton-John role. I’m wicked psyched to be lacing up my skates again!
I’ll only be gone for 9 weeks, and it’s a terrific gig that I’m grateful for, but I’m not gonna lie to ya, it’s hard to leave the N-to-the-Y-to-the-C and Jaradoa! We’ve got so much going on that I don’t want to miss. Dudes, we just started bowling in the Broadway Bowling League! And we’re in seventh place! Holler.
But more importantly I’ll be missing Play On! and Radio Plays – I would have loved to have been there for our first Black History Month Radio Play. Plus after getting to meet the students at PS122 I won’t be able to watch the development of the plays they write. And dammit, I want to know what’s going to happen to the evil grandmother stroking her evil cat which is in turn stroking its evil mouse,,,
Thanks to technology, I’m still a part of it all from the road. I get to coordinate the Black History Month Radio Play, recruit volunteers for Play On!, and even practice my bowling moves in rollerskates! No, it’s not the same as being there, but it’s enough. It’s plenty.
Tonight was my last performance of Avenue Q. I love the show — it was the best job I’ve ever had — but I’d done it a year and a half and it was time to move on and make time for other projects. Like Jaradoa stuff!
I didn’t want to make a big deal out of my last show, I just wanted to “go gentle into that good night.” So last week I told our stage manager that I didn’t want a goodbye cake or for everyone to sing “Happy Trails” to me at half hour. But a couple days beforehand, I realized that I did want my last show to somehow be noted by the people in my world. Just then I got an email from my fellow Jaradoan Eileen. I kinda timidly wrote back asking if she’d be willing to wait in line at the box office on my last day to get front row rush tickets, and she said sure!
So tonight Eileen came to the Q and brought along another Jaradoan, Kevin. They sat smack in the front row, which is so close that it almost felt like they were a part of my show. I could always see them peripherally and I was doing the show for them. And they laughed and smiled at everything I did, making me feel so supported and loved.
Tonight was a really sweet night filled with cards, gifts, and well wishes from folks offstage (Sala, who plays Christmas Eve, made me granola! Like from scratch!). And there were lots of special moments onstage: Maggie, our second hander, made Princeton give Kate a kiss on the head before he spooned her, and I got meaningful, loving looks from fellow cast members like Danielle, who plays Gary Coleman, which means a lot in a show where people don’t ever look me in the eye (they’re supposed to be looking at my puppet).
Now, I’m a weeper, it’s easy to get me to cry, but the thing that helped me keep it together was the sound of Eileen and Kevin’s laughter. Because in a business where you are constantly leaving groups of people you’ve had an intense creative experience with and you have grown to love, it’s hard to find people that are a constant, a foundation. And the good folks of Jaradoa are that for me. I feel so lucky tonight. It’s scary to start a new phase of life, but I have the luxury of knowing that my extended Jaradoa family — and not just Members, but also Allies and all the other people who come alongside us — will remain in my life.
Some people stayed for an hour, some stayed for 7. Some wore jammies, some did not, some still insist that what they were wearing was jammies, but the judges still rule that they were not.
Some folks ate pancakes with chocolate and peanut butter chips with no maple syrup. Some ate waffles with real maple syrup. No one ate the Mrs. Butterworth’s maple syrup. And even vegetarians ate the bacon.
The First Annual Jaradoa Jammy Party was a fabulous time! Lovely people came and went, meeting new folks and reconnecting with ones they hadn’t seen in a while. If they asked for bacon, often they ended up flipping it themselves (most notably Eileen Rivera, who was apparently voted Best Bacon Flipper of her 2005 group trip to somewhere I don’t recall).
Seth Rudetsky, his partner James, and James’ daughter Juli arrived directly from Julia Murney’s annual pancake party, wearing the t-shirts to prove it, but they still gamely put away a waffle apiece.
And as the day wound down, Timothy Michael Cooper’s greatest 2010 wish finally came true, and we played his variation on “Celebrity” called “Salad Bowl”, where you don’t just use famous people’s names, you can write down anything at all, as long as it begins with the chosen letter. It was way more fun than I think anyone expected, even if at one point it was perhaps borderline racist. The judges have still not ruled on that, we just know that Penelope Cruz is not Mexican and therefore should not be acted out as wearing a sombrero and eating a taco.
What did we learn? That in 2-K-10, we are going to google it, and google it hard. Why, you ask? Not sure, exactly, but that’s what this year is going to be about. Although I did also hear that 2-K-10 is really 2-K-Men, so I guess the two sides of that debate can duke it out. All I know is we started the year right…