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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 27 / 185

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CHAPTER ONE

TIMESCAPE: HISTORY PLAYS AND ISOLATION

Saskatchewan radio plays inspired by Saskatchewan history often tell stories of

isolation in the previously-defined sense of “being alone, separated, or removed from

one’s normal environment or context.” The answer to my first big question, “To what

extent are themes of isolation and the struggle to relieve it developed by Saskatchewan

playwrights on the radio?” will become apparent as the lonely figures and situations of

the following plays are discussed. The second question, “If the most acute geographic

and demographic isolation experienced by Saskatchewan residents was historic, i.e.

during the history of European settlement, why are there still strong thematic currents of

isolation appearing throughout Saskatchewan radio plays written after 1980?” is also

easier to answer when studying plays dealing with historical topics. Many of these plays

draw inspiration from that era of European settlement and the early days of

Saskatchewan’s agricultural development. The heaviest immigration to Saskatchewan

was in the two decades after 1900. In that period, the population jumped sevenfold from

approximately 100,000 to nearly 700,000 (“Saskatchewan” Encyclopædia Britannica).20

As discussed in the Background chapter, CBC Saskatchewan was named its own

CBC region in the late 1970s, as far as production was concerned. This began a new, or

new at the provincial level, tradition of radio drama in Saskatchewan.21 1980 was also

20 21 Find more dates and info in Appendix E Timeline: Saskatchewan and Radio History. A combination of factors within the CBC contributed to this new tradition of radio drama blooming in the 1980s: the 1976 Arts Report that called for more arts programming on CBC radio; CBC Saskatchewan’s new designation as its own CBC region within Canada; the appointment of a full-time

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