Isolation is danger. Community is safety. The dangers of isolation experienced
by Saskatchewan settlers still resonate strongly with playwrights working in 1980s
Saskatchewan for several reasons. Saskatchewan is still a harsh, dangerous place in
which to be isolated. Timescape explored how the dangers of isolation faced by the
settlers of Saskatchewan exacted a heavy physical, psychological, and social toll. The
danger of facing the land alone in settler-era Saskatchewan was no mere metaphor.
People left alone withered and succumbed. Stories of isolation from this era still
resonated enough in the 1980s to become a significant part of contemporary radio dramas
that looked back into history for inspiration. Landscape examined plays that evoke
powerful themes of isolation and nature in contemporary settings. The physical danger of
the prairie landscape is still very real, but it is paired with psychological damage that can
result from being alone. Bodyscape moves past the fear of rural Saskatchewan’s
harshness and delves into the fear of being removed from such a landscape if it is your
home – as evidenced by Beaupré (The Giant Who Wept) and Grandma Luba (Grandma’s
Foot). Pride in the history of progress in Saskatchewan is tempered by an awareness of
the human cost of such achievement: Nelson’s hand in Gold is Where You Find It, and
the broken family units seen in The First Step, and North of Moose Jaw. The economic
forces placing increasing stress on the rural economy of 1980s Saskatchewan, the “way
of life dying” of which Burke speaks, can inspire stories of uncertainty, doubt, and the
fear of being alone -- especially when faced with medical crises in a remote/rural area.
This need for connection and community places a great emphasis on the value of the
relational voice in a healthy community, as explored in the chapter Bodyscape.