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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 65 / 185

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CHAPTER TWO

LANDSCAPE: QUANDT AND ISOLATION

The plays of James Quandt are filled with images of ice and snow, death, and

loneliness.55 However, the most powerful elements of these plays are space and

isolation. Quandt’s plays help to further explore the prevalence of the themes of isolation

appearing throughout Saskatchewan radio plays written after 1980. Quandt is not writing

in a historic mode. His plays are set well after the era of settlement that largely informed

the history plays of the previous chapter. Despite the update in setting, familiar images

arise, such as Frye’s tragic archetypes of the seasonal cycles of setting, climate, isolation,

and death; Atwood’s thoughts on nature-the-monster and nature-as-woman; and Burke’s

observations on writings from “frozen steppes” and the poignancy of the image of

Mother Wheat, Saskatchewan’s early agrarian economy, changing or dying over the past

25 years.56

Such insights will provide a useful framework for exploring physical and mental

geography in this chapter. Quandt often uses physical settings, or landscape, to highlight

a character’s mental landscape, or mindscape. Within these plays, both landscape and its

mental reflection, mindscape, are important. Landscape can refer to the sum of the earth,

trees, rocks and animals that surround a character. Mindscape can refer to the character’s

state of mind as it has been influenced by interaction with other characters as well as

55 Quandt, a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, is a Canadian film critic of note who now works at Cinematheque Ontario. He was the founding Director of Cinematheque Ontario between 1990 and 1997 and has since served as Senior Programmer. Awards: the Special Prize for Arts and Culture from The Japan Foundation, the Chevalier des Arts et Letters from the French government, a Special Citation from the American National Society of Film Critics, and the Clyde Gilmour Life Achievement Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association. (News release, Toronto – Cinematheque Ontario 10/14/04.) <http://www.e.bell.ca/filmfest/cinematheque/about_news_sub.asp?pressID=131>

56

See introduction.

59

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