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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 42 / 185

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Timescape: History Plays and Isolation

36

was sold to science and his bones were eventually displayed at Montréal University for

years until his relatives finally were able to obtain his remains and bury him in Willow

Bunch in 1990 (Lesperance J. Edouard Beaupré).

Sapergia and Ursell cite the power of Beaupré’s story as the inspiration for The

Giant Who Wept and subsequent works based upon it. Sapergia recalls that “one of the

reasons I was drawn to the Willow Bunch Giant was that in Moose Jaw a shoe repair

shop had his shoe in the window, and I’d see that shoe and wonder about the man who

could wear it.” Ursell and Sapergia were also inspired by the family’s fight to bring

Beaupré’s remains home for burial. While Sapergia points out that The Giant Who Wept

is meant as a tribute, she also brings up the question of the “voice” of the play. She notes

the value of writing “to celebrate certain things and people and make them known, as in

the case of the Willow Bunch Giant. I don’t know if we would do that story today,

because we don’t come out of the French and Métis cultures which influenced him.40

But then, we also felt it was our story.”

The Giant Who Wept is an intense, almost chaotic collage of Beaupré’s memories,

both narrated and re-lived. This barrage of memories is combined with an intense,

original soundscape. Ursell and Sapergia spoke about how it was meant to affect the

listener:

Ursell – We wanted to convey the fragmentation of his life. His life in the circus--the world he had to live in order to make some money--was such a disconnect from his real existence on the prairie in Willow Bunch. The circus gave him a living, but it was a world which also killed him. It wore him out, it exhausted him. Sapergia –Beaupré was a really absorbing character and we didn’t want him to be pitiful or pathetic, but his life was tragic. There was so little

40 Beaupré had a many-faceted voice himself. He spoke fluent French, English, Cree, and Sioux (Lesperance: Beaupré, J. Edouard).

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