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Three Questions: an interview with . . . Taso Dirlis May 3, 2007

Posted by William Spear in >> News, >> Radio Drama, >> Three Questions: an interview with ....

Taso Dirlis’ short play “Stewie the Stoic” was performed earlier this year in the first Praque Playwriting Competition. We exchanged emails and Taso offered insights on the radio side of playwriting.

. . .

LIT: What are the similarities between radio, stage, film and television?

TASO: As far as I’m concerned, the most important thing they have in common is that each format tries very hard to tell a good story and not waste the audience’s time.

LIT: How about contrasts?

TASO: The differences kick in when each one has to overcome, in their own unique way, the inevitable and merciless realities of space and time. No mean feat.

What interests me most about radio drama is the possibility of producing one so well, it convinces the listener the only way they can appreciate it properly is by listening to it alone on their headphones.

LIT: That’s a pretty tall order.

TASO: That’s what I shoot for when I write them. I realize, of course, that there are many ways to enjoy a radio drama, but I still think that getting them alone, in the dark even, is where you can really grab their attention and capture their imagination.

LIT: What should radio dramatists and producers do to find new listeners? How do we, in your words, “capture their imaginations”?

TASO: Throw everything they got at the Internet.

LIT: What about our Bakelites, Marconiphones, or Atwater Kents?

TASO: I don’t see anybody huddled around their RCA Silvertones anymore, so I imagine most people listen to online radio and/or download the programs they want through either legal or illegal means. If it’s exposure radio dramatists and producers are after, they’ll find it available only a few clicks away.

LIT: What else?

TASO: Another thing they can do is write comedies. Not too many of those out there, surprisingly. Everyone loves a good laugh and from where I’m sitting, it looks like we can all use one these days.

LIT: What is your favorite piece of radio drama and why?

TASO: I’m no expert, but the radio plays J.G. Ballard did for CBC radio back in ’88 are hard to beat.

LIT: Ballard is a new name here.

TASO: I particularly like Having a Wonderful Time, a darkly comical look at one way to get rid of society’s unnecessary and unwanted. He’s a writer who understood the format and knew how to manipulate it in order to get the desired effect. When I was done listening, it felt like he had reached right into my brain and squeezed.

. . .

Taso is currently working in Prague and Budapest on a book and can be reached at tasodirlis@yahoo.com .

Lit Between the Ears thanks Taso for speaking on radio drama. We offer our compliments on “Stewie the Stoic” and its production in the first Praque Playwriting Competition and extend an invitation for Taso to keep our readers informed of news and successes.

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