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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 111 / 185

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Bodyscape: Isolation, Health, and the Woman’s Voice

105

The subject of health and healthcare resonates throughout this selection of

Saskatchewan radio plays. This could be due to several factors: Saskatchewan’s socio-

political history as being the home of Medicare; the aging population of the province

that holds healthcare and access to it in such high regard; or the underlying rural/urban

tension over access to care. Air Ambulance highlights the challenges of keeping an

isolated population healthy. Air Ambulance also shows an unflinching trust in the

medical system that is not always apparent in plays written twenty years later, in the

1980s. Old Crocks explores another history of Saskatchewan medicine, the Sanatorium

Age, and how “Chasing Cure” could leave some patients behind. Also apparent is a

cautionary note against medicine that values treatment above the patient. Both Alberto

in Dead Awake and John in The Idyll of John Murdoch are polished off by misguided

expert treatments. Fears of an aging population and the distance they live from the

hospital are touched on in contemporary plays like Reunion and Happy Birthday Arnie.

The voice of the playwright in plays dealing with health issues is most often a

woman’s. Gilligan’s call for a need to shift a discourse from the patriarchal to a more

relational, feminist voice reflects the lessons learned in these plays. The fact that

healthcare and the fight for Medicare are celebrated in Saskatchewan radio plays shows

this shift could be under way. To Do and Endure sees women gaining a voice to fight

for a healthier society. There is also a strong sense of the value of women’s connecting

voices, past and present, in keeping a family healthy. Both Carole (Had a Great Fall)

and Beth (Snow Dream) turn to, or recreate, women from their pasts to help ease

anxieties when they are unable to meaningfully communicate with anyone in the

physical world. Their created connections differ from those of the title character of The

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