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Volume 37, Number 1 (2016)

Investigating Afghanada: Situating the CBC Radio Drama in the Context and Politics of Canada and the War on Terror

June 10, 2016


In 2008, Globe and Mail theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck made a significant remark about Canadian theatre and the War on Terror, noting a clear absence of stage plays that addressed Canada’s participation. There was, however, a long-running CBC radio drama series, Afghanada, which centred fully on the experiences of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. Because relatively little research has yet to be published about the radio series, Lindsay Thistle details Afghanada’s production history, major players, creative processes and goals. She also considers how the radio medium affected the objectives of the series and its ability to represent war, ultimately arguing that Afghanada was inescapably politicized through its relationship with national institutions, its interest in realistic and true-to-life stories, its focus on everyday soldiers, its casting choices and its inclusion of post-traumatic stress disorder. Throughout this investigation, Thistle raises important questions about the politics of dramatizing war while Canada itself was at war. She concludes by observing that while Afghanada avoids an explicit message in support of or against the Canada’s involvement in the War on Terror, it engaged with the political from its inception, through its creation, and in its reception.