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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 87 / 185

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Bodyscape: Isolation, Health, and the Woman’s Voice

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example, in The Romance of Canada series. It is the story of a sick old man, Barr,

trying to relive his glory days and re-fight old political fights. The play’s introduction

on CBC Saskatchewan’s Ambience explained further:

The drama follows the struggles of retired journalist OJ Barr who is writing a book about Douglas. From the 1930s to the 1970s Barr worked for a newspaper that was ideologically opposed to Douglas’s politics. Barr shared the newspaper’s sentiments, but at the same time was fascinated by this highly successful and engaging politician. Barr finds that his anxieties about Douglas’s politics, first encountered during his newspaper days, are rekindled as he attempts to write this book. (R- 9898 files)

These observations are proven during the play’s ten episodes. The editorial direction of

Barr’s newspaper is summed up in a conversation Barr has with his editor. Barr tries to

quote Douglas, with the lead in that Douglas “said”. Barr’s editor reminds him that, in

this newspaper, “Liberals state, P.C.’s say, and N.D.P.’s allege”. Barr explains his own

fascination with Tommy as “Barr on Douglas – “I like him, I don’t like what he stands

for” but that “the little bugger was witty.” Barr eventually adopts a line from one of

Douglas’s speeches as a rallying cry when he is facing operations and other treatments

in the hospital. The line is a punch line of a joke Douglas told once, in which an old

man says: “I don’t have any enemies in all the world. I’ve outlived the bastards.”

Barr’s story fits well into this exploration of healthcare and isolation in

Saskatchewan. Barr is dying as he is trying to write his book. His life is unraveling as

he tries to knit together his story about Douglas. Barr is going through old tapes of

Tommy Douglas’s speeches, on a wide range of topics, including the following: capital

punishment; creating world peace by solving world hunger; Credit Unions; the Wheat

Pool; and the Wheat Board. Only one speech centres on healthcare.

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