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Five College Theater

Playreading series turns the Radio on
New Season for New Playreading Series at Smith College

Northampton, MA - Former radio personality and producer Jaz Tupelo has written two episodes of a radio comedy based on her own experiences climbing the ranks from volunteer overnight DJ to music director and midday host of an independent, non-commercial radio station. Tupelo is an Ada Comstock scholar at Smith College who will be graduating in December with a degree in Theatre. RADIO ON is a sitcom about a community station struggling to stay afloat on the airwaves in the face of corporate competition, flaky volunteers, and a boss who's not nearly as cool as he thinks.

The idea of telling her own radio stories began to surface while working at a station where she and her co-workers joked that they were living in a sitcom; she says her daily interactions with the various characters at the station were so ludicrous and over-the-top that no one would ever buy it as a script. But years later, while taking playwriting classes with Len Berkman at Smith College, she found her memories to be fruitful material for various scenes and sketches. Eventually, inspired by the rise of podcasts and the rich tradition of radio plays and comedies—still alive and well in England, where major stars like Benedict Cumberbatch are active cast members in live productions for the radio—she decided to tie up the loose ends into a complete and compelling comedy series.

Although this reading will not be recorded for public consumption, Tupelo and her director, Phil O'Donoghue, are aiming for the feel of an old-fashioned radio taping in front a live audience. Tupelo hopes to eventually record live productions of the series, and has approached area musicians about appearing as fictional versions of themselves for future episodes. She is optimistic about the local appeal of the series and excited about the potential for collaboration with the rich musical and theatrical communities in the Valley.

Jaz Tupelo (playwright) was most recently seen in MARAT/SADE as Coulmier. She also appeared in Deirdre Kinahan's MOMENT as Teresa, and the NCT/Smith College co-production of NICKEL AND DIMED as Gail. She is a Northampton resident, and in her former life was a radio personality and producer for The Bill Dwight Show.

Phil O'Donoghue (director) has an MFA in Playwrighting from Smith College, and currently an Assistant Professor of Theater and English at Springfield Technical Community College. His plays have had readings or performances in New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, as well as Northampton. He has directed plays at Springfield Technical Community College, and Williston-Northampton School Summer Theatre Program. He is also an original member of the Northampton 24-Hour Theater Project.

Friday, September 27 and Saturday, September 28 at 7:30 PM
Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts
Free and Open to the Public