Tarasmas 2006

Tarasmas was a phenomenal success this year, as in previous years. This one, however, was particularly poignant (it saw the final chapter of the Dickens Carter saga), ambitious (the production of four (four!) radio dramas), and multi-layered (the inclusion of an overarching metastory of backstage production). We enjoyed a PI story, a soap opera, a horror story, and a superhero story, all linked together by the director character, a main actor character, the narrator character, and the stage manager character.

t! is a genius, of course. He’s a brilliant writer (something I can honestly say is common among the people I know, and it’s not just because a lot of them make a living by doing it), has excellent sense of casting, a beautiful understanding of what his audience wants and can take, and, above all, a real desire to entertain and share his birthday with forty other people.

ADZO put it this way:

It’s a unique experience, what t! has done with Tarasmas. The idea of participating and watching, of being and not being part of the show, plus the self-organizing chaos surrounding everything is special.

For those who aren’t familiar with Tarasmas, it’s the celebration of the inestimable t!’s birthday. t! writes two to three hours’ worth of radio dramas, and casts the attendees of the party in various roles. A very few people get a script ahead of the evening itself, if they have a very large role or a part that requires tricky delivery. In general, however, people get their scripts a half-hour before they go on the stage, and never do they get a script for the entire evening (unless, again, they require one, such as those who are on every page or so), for that would spoil the fun.

t! rents the hall, provides drinks, everyone brings snacks and specific beverages if they desire them, and away we go.

It’s a hilarious way to spend the evening. There are inside jokes, genre send-ups, homages, and the fun of seeing people enjoy themselves on and off the stage. The most touching thing, however, is knowing that this is t!’s gift to us, every year. The planning, writing (this year clocked in at somewhere around 21K of words), and execution are handled by t! (now with the support of his lovely assistant ai731), in a beautiful turnabout of the birthday tradition.

We love Tarasmas. We get to see people we don’t see very often. We get to act. We get to laugh until we cry. We get to appreciate the artistry of the writing, the talent of everyone involved, and the giant conglomeration of history and source culture behind it all. And we embrace the opportunity to celebrate a dear friend.

Happy birthday, t!. And thank you for everything that you give us, both at this time of year and the other three hundred and sixty four days. Life would be the poorer for us all without you.