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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 114 / 185

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Conclusion

108

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.

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