The Tin Man

Is “The Tin Man”: a podcast? I guess so. You can subscribe to it like a podcast, and it’s released in serialized form. But you could just as easily download the mp3s off of Matt Sahr’s “website”: If you think of a podcast as being analogous to a typical blog, where the entries are spontaneous and rough around the edges, then _The Tin Man_ is nothing at all like a podcast. It’s a polished audio drama. It has more in common with the radio dramas of the 30s and 40s than anything else — though I doubt any of those Golden Age serials featured a debate between the Tin Man and the Scarecrow that slid abruptly into a satirical commercial for Monsanto.

Yes, this is a “Matt Sahr”: production, and like “his play”: from a couple years ago, _The Tin Man_ is a surrealist, absurdist romp full of philosophical flim-flammery, riffing this time on themes of consumerism and intellectual property. The story, such as it is, follows the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, Dorothy et al on their familiar path, though here it is rife with diversions, and the diversions are what it’s really all about. The extended bar joke that comprises Episode 7 is not to be missed. In fact I’ve found the whole thing rather a treat. Three aspects stand out:

* The stellar production values. It’s just Matt and his computer with a good microphone and some decent sound-editing software. But of course that’s enough. When I say it’s an “audio drama” I mean that it isn’t just a guy talking into a microphone, but a fully polished affair with background music, sound cues, and effects. It is largely a one-man show but the voice-masking used to allow Matt to play different roles is not gimmicky in the slightest. And of course there’s . . .

* . . . the music of Steve Putt, including an entire song in one episode but all manner of guitar licks and other tidbits spicing things up throughout. Very good stuff.

* The Tin Man and the Scarecrow dialogues. If you didn’t know you would never guess that that’s one person doing those two voices, sounding for all the world like a naturally performed scene. Two Guys Talkin’ is Matt’s specialty, dramatically speaking. There’s a long parade of duos engaging in philosophical repartee throughout his work. But it’s not a rut — there’s something fresh each time. It’s just his thing.

Catching up on all the existing episodes will take you about an hour, and then you can be notified as new ones arrive — whether through your podcasting software of choice, or just through email. What are you waiting for?