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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 44 / 185

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Timescape: History Plays and Isolation

38

Ironically, Beaupré’s choice to leave the caring circle of family and friends, his

normal environment or context, and enter this side-show world is motivated by a desire to

improve the fortunes of his impoverished family back home. Little of Beaupré’s money

reaches his relatives, however, and the side-show life eventually kills him. As he lies

dying, Beaupré longs for a safer type of isolation, a trip home, even if the trip happens

after he passes away. The play ends with the voice of Beaupré. He remembers his past

and hopes he can help his family after his death. Beaupré longs for his normal

environment/context: “the sheltering hills where the sickness in my chest may heal,

drawn away by the hot sun and the clear sky ... when I walk alone across the wide prairie;

I look like any other man.” In order to appear normal, he needs to stand alone in a

landscape devoid of landmarks which might provide a reference to his stature. Beaupré

also worries about what people will do to his enormous body after he dies: “Do they think

if they tear my flesh apart they will find a secret?” Beaupré asks not to be dissected, but

embalmed and displayed so his family can get the money, until “one day, when everyone

is tired of looking [they can] take me home to my people and lay me down in the earth …

someday, I want to go home to be buried. To become part of that beautiful prairie. The

earth does not judge, does not measure those who fall into it. To come back to my

people. To give myself into their keeping and rest. To be allowed to rest.” The only

peace Beaupré can imagine is in isolation, in death and in the grave. He also invokes

religion when recalling the prairie of his youth. Beaupré muses on how it is “so easy

under that sky to believe in God.” Beaupré, having been born and raised on the prairies,

then swept into a chaotic, exploitive world, imagines his prairie home as a more

welcoming place than his present situation.

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