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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 61 / 185

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Timescape: History Plays and Isolation

55

Thus he fulfils Atwood’s settler motif of the battle of straight line versus curve. Frank

illustrates what happens when “straight line battles curve and wins, but destroys human

‘life force’ in the process” (Atwood 122). Alec, however, abandons the fight altogether

when his first Utopian dream is shattered by reality. He leaves his home and marriage in

pursuit of a new, equally fragile dream, thus “straight line deteriorates and the curve takes

over again; that is, settlement fails” (Atwood 122). Alec’s wife Jessie is resolved to leave

Alec before he returns to prepare for whatever ill-fated adventure draws him away again.

Without Jessie maintaining their settlement, the sod house homestead, it will crumble.

Radio plays dealing with history are an important part of the radio drama genre.

They are used to explore the stories leading up to a people’s current place in the world.

This is especially useful to countries that were once colonies now living in postcolonial

times. Radio plays drawing upon history are also important in exploring communal

identity: both as a country and a province. In the 1930s, The Romance of Canada series

fulfilled a cheerleading role for a young nation. Proclaiming the virtues of faith in God,

King, and Country, the series invoked characters from History. These explorers,

colonizers, and patriots were presented as heroes and trailblazers. The plays, for the most

part, focused on these people’s moments of greatest triumph.

Twenty years later, radio drama on CBC Saskatchewan was filling a different

role, in form and function. In the 1950s, Saskatchewan saw a rise in the prominence of

historical, educational drama, as evidenced by Mary Pattison’s Gold is Where you Find

It. Radio drama was an important educational tool. Rather than focusing on any big

heroes of bygone days, the play focuses on the march of progress, familiar to a booming

post-war and post-depression economy. The museum setting and memories of a normal

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