Vol. 11 No. 1 (Spring 1990)

CANADIAN RADIO DRAMA IN ENGLISH: PRICK UP YOUR EARS

Anne Nothof

Radio drama is alive and well and living in Canada, even though the audience is scattered and silent, and the playwrights relatively obscure. It works best as an intimate, personal voice in the ear of the individual listener, seducing with the meaningful sound of language. Although its pervasive tone has been critical and ironic, it is most effective as a mental theatre: sound becomes a transcription of psychological reality. The CBC has, however, produced a diversity of radio plays, from adaptations of novels to innovative series featuring new Canadian playwrights.

Au Canada le radiothéâtre se porte fort bien, merci, malgré que son public demeure dispersé et silencieux et ses dramaturges relativement peu connus. Car le radiothéâtre fonctionne mieux comme cette voix intime et personnelle que capte l'auditeur individuel et qui séduit par les signes si lourds de sens du langage parlé. Pour critique ou ironique qu'ait été son ton pervasif, il s'avère plus efficace comme théâtre mental: le son se fait transcription d'une réalité psychologique. La CBC a produit toute une gamme de pièces radiophoniques, depuis les adaptations de romans jusqu'aux séries innovatrices faisant la vedette aux nouveaux dramaturges canadiens.

Is anyone listening out there? In a society bombarded by visual effects, what is the impact of sound? Can the unadorned spoken word evoke a sufficient reality? Practitioners of sound - the artists who write and produce radio drama - believe that a limitless imaginative world is possible. Sound can change a location, shift time into the past or future. It can portray an internal or an external world, render random impressions, or articulate logical arguments. It is the most flexible of forms, allowing a freedom to experiment usually inhibited by considerations of space, time, and money in live theatre. Radio drama is also the most intimate of forms. Although the audience is widely dispersed, the theatre exists in every location in which there is a listener. And it speaks to that listener alone. For in most cases, radio drama is heard in the enclosed spaces inhabited by isolated individuals - isolated because of geographical distance, physical or social restrictions, or simply because of patterns of living and working - the long drive, the long evening. Playwright Tom Lackey estimates that of a possible audience of 65,000 for a CBC radio play, 60,000 will probably be alone.1 According to CBC producer Bill Howell, however, such numbers do not really constitute an audience (even though, of course, the word 'audience' derives form the Latin verb audire, 'to hear'). They represent individual listeners, simply because there can be no interaction between them and the performers. The experience necessarily is subjective and internalized. The play is created in the imagination of the listener. This is both the weakness and the strength of radio drama. It precludes the communal experience, the interaction of stage event and audience response so vital to live theatre; but it creates a condition of intimacy, a personal voice in the ear, which live theatre cannot replicate. Bill Howell considers radio theatre a kind of paradox: 'It comes out of a sense of community, but finally radio drama is a community of two' - the radio whistling into the listener's ear.2 Most importantly, it develops the art of listening - listening as active and participatory. And in this age of visual stimulation, listening has become almost a lost art. Rarely is the whole concentration focused on sound. The general assumption in our hurried society is that listening is secondary and passive; it fills in the background during more important activities such as ironing and washing the dishes. The result is that most of us hear very little. We tend to hear what we want to hear, what we think we hear. We become closed to new perceptions. Only the strident and shocking sounds cut through - what television announcers now call 'sound bites.' Radio drama, however, is foreground listening. It works only if it commands the whole attention of the audience, and this is a difficult thing to do.3

In the CBC 'Writers' Kit,' devised by the producers and script editors who work on radio drama and distributed to prospective or seasoned playwrights, emphasis is placed on the unique requirements of the medium: 'Radio drama is more than just a blinded stage or screen. It has its own peculiar spectrum of aural shades and textures. As sound technology has advanced so has the potential for developing new dramatic forms within Radio Drama.'4 it is possible to stack sound on a tape: as the sound moves horizontally, it also moves vertically, opening up many diverse ways of dealing with a subject: events can occur simultaneously, evoked through a layering of sound. The use of vari-speed facilitates new ways of hearing sound patterns and speech. Radio drama is uniquely appropriate for the post-modern concepts of relative motion and relative force. According to Bill Howell, playwrights should not be tied to linearity in story-telling, or to the supremacy of logic or narrative: 'Stories have to have beginnings, middles and ends, but not necessarily in that order.'5

Regardless of innovative technology, however, the most important element of radio drama is still language:6 it must seduce the listener into concentration, and reward her for the attention paid. As playwright Judith Thompson realizes, 'we love hearing ourselves - it's fascinating ... That's part of the unique appeal of radio drama: the deliciously private experience of eavesdropping on lives that may be similar to our own - or fantastically different . . . You have to build with words only . . . And you've got to fill up the space with meaningful sound. It's like writing a symphony, every note.'7 Language allows the listener to enter the mind of another, and to see the world through her words. Playwrights too, according to Tom Lackey, must learn to listen to what their characters are saying.8 This art of listening must also be learned by actors, who often become preoccupied with the sound of their own voices and do not hear that of the characters.

In the so-called 'Golden Age' of Canadian radio drama9 in the 1940s and the first half of the 1950s, people were actively listening, and actively responding to what they heard. Playwright Len Peterson remembers a time when radio dramatists were sometimes very aware of the audience: 'You could get them on your tail as much as the mad trapper did.' 10 Their reactions might be expressed through howls of protest in parliament. Whole industries would organize to suppress certain more 'controversial' CBC radio plays, especially those of Peterson. There were even lawsuits. Peterson found the whole experience stimulating and lots of fun, but now finds it very difficult to get into trouble, or to make an impression in any medium. The few letters of objection the CBC receives usually refer to the 'bad' language. It is not as if Peterson has mellowed over time: Harvest: Jim McCaw's Farm, 1917, first broadcast on Sunday Matinee on 19 June 1988, and repeated during Erika Ritter's Sunday showcase, Air Craft, in October 1988, is just as politically and linguistically feisty as any of his plays. It provokes active listening. British imperialism and the atrocity of war are the objects of attack, personified by a fusty, bumptious major recruiting farm hands for cannon fodder. At the harvest celebration, an excuse for drinking and womanizing, Charlie McCraw, using 'a mixture of vilification and boasting,' recounts his own abortive attempt to sign up, 'as drunk as a skunk.' The major, however, is more interested in Joe Catona, the hired man, whom he recognizes as the son of a 'bohunk' imprisoned as an undesirable alien. Provoked by the insults to his family, Joe attacks the major, and they fall into the harvest bonfire. One burns, the other escapes across the prairie, 'while our leaders sleep-walk through the war.'

For Len Peterson the pervasive critical and ironic tone of Canadian radio drama constitutes the seminal difference between Canadian productions and American ones: since the latter have been funded almost exclusively by private business, they have been effectively neutered politically. The power of the sponsor leads to superficiality of statement. 'Happiness is safety.' In Canada, however, at least in theory, the CBC operates independently of capitalist interests, and the playwright has more latitude. He or she can in fact cause listeners to 'prick up their ears,' although as yet no Canadian successor to Joe Orton has provoked as many letters-to-the-editor as The Ruffian on the Stair. Peterson believes strongly that the Canadian broadcasting system has a national responsibility: it must never cater to the 'hucksters.' The broadcasting system is like the railroad, beginning with the CPR that was supposed to hold the country together, and it does that to some extent, but it can be very ill-advised and create great tensions between various parts of the country. It also helps the hucksters and manufacturers by stimulating consumerism that rapes the country and the globe of materials. It was thought [of] at one time as one of the main contributors to culture and education, but both have fallen by the wayside.' 11 In a comparative analysis of American and Canadian drama, 'The sponsor's v. the nation's choice: North American radio drama,' Howard Fink comes to similar conclusions:


 
soon after the establishment of the major networks [in the United States], the creation and production of most programmes was taken over from the networks by the advertising agencies representing the sponsors. Production went on in the agencies' own facilities and under their own - and the sponsors' - direct control. Decisions concerning the nature of individual programmes as well as their production and direction were thus related mainly to the needs of the sponsors.12


In Canada, however, the original context for radio drama was that of national broadcasting institutions:


 
The CRBC and the CBC were created with the specific and declared purposes of serving as instruments of Canadian culture and as major tools to weld the widely dispersed Canadian population into a single nation. The effect on programming of these declared goals was not necessarily a high proportion of Canadian content, for that has always been difficult. There was, rather, a consciousness of these goals on the part of radio dramatists and producers, the results of which appeared quite clearly in the themes and styles of Canadian radio-drama series. To choose only one example: there has always been a didactic motivation in Canadian radio drama and a related superiority in the documentary.13


Veteran playwright Len Peterson and CBC producer Bill Howell both feel that CBC radio drama is controlled by management and government, however, because of licensing regulation and funding, and cite the rejection of Howell's proposal for a Brechtian satire on Free Trade in 1987 as a not-so-subtle form of censorship.

It has become difficult to ascertain just what will arouse the indignation of the radio audience, numbed by the repetitious violence and prurience of television and film. Playwright James Nichol can recall an indignant reaction in Alberta over a documentary drama he wrote for the CBC on William Aberhardt, entitled The Rapture of William Aberhardt, first broadcast as part of the 'Cranks' series on the unofficial history of Canada on Sunday Matinee, 21 September 1986, in which he indicated that the young Aberhardt had watched his sister undress.14 However, he believes that Canadian playwrights should not be obnoxious just for the sake of it; there is a difference between being outrageous and being self-indulgent. Tom Lackey's contention is that radio drama should continue to confound and discomfit, to question unexamined perceptions of self, to play with cultural values, with ideas, with words. Plays are, after all, 'play' - the intention of which is to learn what constitutes the patterns of individual behaviour and the patterns of society.15

On the other hand, Bill Howell finds the preponderance of message plays in Canadian radio drama rather boring. They tend to be simplistic and preachy, with limited artistic value: 'sociology has no sense of humour.' 16 Howell believes that radio drama operates most successfully as a kind of mental theatre. Sound becomes a transcription of psychological reality. It does not differentiate between what is outside and what is inside. British playwrights of the theatre of the absurd such as Beckett, Pinter, and Stoppard, have used this internalizing capability of radio since the 1950s and Canadian playwright David Helwig exploits it for Disappearance, broadcast 21 August 1987 on Vanishing Point, in which the protagonist's 'quest for spiritual enlightenment leads him to question the importance of the material world. But as he finds himself plagued by a host of baffling disappearances, he - and the listener - must finally question the nature of reality itself.' 17 For the unfortunate Roger in Disappearance, for Maddy Rooney in Beckett's Embers, the past and present merge, and the voices of all the 'characters' may be internal or external. Reality is achieved solely through sound. And radio sounds can build up a dimension of reality in the imagination of the listener, only to completely undermine it.

Bill Howell contends that radio adaptations of 'classic' stage plays, by Shakespeare or Chekhov, for example, on BBC World Theatre and CBC's Festival Theatre are a form of 'museum theatre,' a way of preserving and disseminating mummified art. Because a stage play has its own history and momentum as a stage piece, it has a certain aura, and the audience has certain expectations. When it is translated into another medium, it is dealt with too reverently, and the particular concerns and possibilities of radio are usually not taken into consideration. As a rule, stage plays - to be successful - must be adapted, even rewritten for radio. For Howell, radio drama is a distinct genre, and scripts must be written specifically for the sound medium. His own CBC series, Playing for Keeps, which was aired in 1986 and 1987 on Sunday Matinee, featured just such radio plays, including one by Len Peterson, The Girl in the Lake, a portrait of Marilyn Bell, in which the sound effects of the water almost drowned out the gasps of the swimmer. In Tom Lackey's Electric Fan, written for the same series on sports, the actors were miked around a large table in the studio to suggest their spatial relationship in a pool hall. The ambiance was added later. For Howell language is just one aspect of the total work. The art of listening must be exercised on many levels. He encourages a wide range of styles and dramatic structures, 'everything from stark minimalism to hi-tech expressionism.' 18

Other CBC producers, however, have been more positive about 'museum theatre' on the radio. In October 1988, John Juliani produced Macbeth in the Vancouver studio, with Jennifer Dale as Lady Macbeth, and R.H. Thomson as Macbeth. It was adapted for radio by Michael Cook, a playwright who is particularly sensitive to the evocative power of language. Moreover, Juliani maintained that 'Shakespeare's language makes the work ideal for radio,' 19 even though he took some liberties with the text, such as cutting scenes. Festival Theatre, which ran from 1978 to 1980, featured almost exclusively 'museum theatre,' the great works of international and national playwrights, and adaptations of novels. In fact, it was advertised as 'prestige dramatic fare,' hosted by 'Canada's leading man of the theatre,' William Hutt, and starring such 'famous' actresses as Kate Reid, Jessica Tandy, and Frances Hyland. The lineup for 1978 included The Green Crow - (selections from the prose and plays of Sean O'Casey on war), The Other Self (a collection of original plays and adaptations by Margaret Atwood, Margaret Laurence, Alice Munro and P.K. Page), A Delicate Balance (a radio adaptation of Alden Nowlan's The Dollar Woman), The Life of Man (an original radio play by John Arden), and the complete Man and Superman, running for five hours from 1:00 p.m. on Monday 24 April. Producers such as John Douglas obviously had great confidence in the listening capabilities of their audiences. On 26 March 1979 Kate Reid starred in Betty Lambert's Grasshopper Hill, now irretrievably archived in the bowels of the CBC. And in November, Festival Theatre resumed with The Cocktail Party, Bill Howell's production of Sheldon Rosen's Ned and Jack (which he considers a failure because it proved to be a radio version of 'talking heads'), The Tempest, The Cherry Orchard, and Tom Stoppard's Professional Foul, which must have cost a tidy sum for copyright. Producer Ron Hartman also undertook an adaptation of Robertson Davies' Fifth Business, and Robert Chesterman produced John Murrell's Memoir out of Vancouver. The 1981 Festival Theatre lineup was equally ambitious, including A Month in the Country, The Shipbuilder, and Automatic Pilot, which Howell insisted be rewritten specifically for radio. During the tenure of Susan Rubes at the CBC, beginning in 1980, the level of listening expectations increased substantially, as did the dissention. Rubes's plans for radio drama were ambitious, and she recruited aggressively to attrract playwrights and directors from 'live' theatre, including John Juliani, Bill Lane, and Stephan Katz. In 1982, radio drama received considerable exposure at the CBC - on Nightfall, a horror anthology series produced by Bill Howell, which has been successfully marketed to the United States, Sunday Matinee, a 'family show' with the emphasis on narrative, Saturday Stereo Theatre, and Sunday Stereo Theatre, which cater to a more 'intellectual' audience. Susan Rubes also initiated a series dramatising infamous law cases, entitled The Scales of Justice, directed by George Jonas. For some, this was another 'Golden Age' of radio drama, but for others, such as Bill Howell, Rubes's predilection for adaptations of stage plays and novels ran counter to their concept of the nature of radio drama.

Bill Howell's 'hi-tech' concept of radio drama has not prevented him from adapting 'classics,' however, and in November 1988 he realized his dream of producing Ernest Buckler's The Mountain and the Valley, adapted by James W. Nichol and broadcast on Sunday Matinee in four parts. It is, of course, the language which compels the listening. It requires absolute attention, but generously rewards the listener with the lyricism of the words, and the imaginative evocation of images of the land and the people of the Annapolis Valley through the voice of the narrator:


 
The North Mountain rose sharply beyond the river. It was solid blue in the December afternoon light, pale and sharp as starlight. On the south side, beyond the barn and the pastures, the south Mountain rose, solid blue too at the bottom with the dark spruces huddled close, but snow-grey higher up where the sudden steepness and the leafless hardwood began. At the peak the giant limbs of the maples could be seen like the bones of hands all along the lemon-coloured horizon.20


Radio drama can thus reinstate the aural tradition, and give back to 'literature' its voice. Timothy Findley adapted his own novel, Famous Last Words, for Sunday Matinee, 10 January to 7 February 1988, although he was a bit sceptical about the success of the radio production, believing that 'every piece of work has its right form.' 21 The adaptations have continued, however: on 7 January 1990 Sunday Matinee began a six-part dramatization of The Stone Angel by James W. Nichol, in which the voice of Hagar blends past and present, and on Stereo Theatre Jack Hodgins has adapted his own stories from The Barclay Family Theatre, repeated after an initial run on Sunday Matinee from 10 to 24 September 1989.

The programming of the CBC allows for a variety of forms and styles - whatever will hold an audience, in effect. The programme description for the defunct Saturday Stereo Theatre emphasizes the importance, however, of making a statement - 'social, political, moral or artistic.' It allows for a variety of styles and forms: 'fictional plays with a documentary basis or style,' '"word" plays in the radio tradition of Under Milk Wood,' 'plays that can really deliver a potential for visceral impact offered by the modern recording studio,' 'plays with a startling premise or with a special political or social point of view,' 'original radio plays written for the series,' 'adaptations from other media,' as well as 'live pick-ups' 22 such as the powerful Remembrance Day broadcasts of Not About Heroes. This last play was taped at the Stratford Festival in 1987 and repeated in November 1988, again produced by the ubiquitous Bill Howell who pronounced it 'a play made for radio.' 23 Since 1987, however, there has been an attempt to focus aspects of this very broad mandate in more 'specialized' drama programmes. Thus on Sunday and Monday evenings hi-tech drama is featured on a series called Vanishing Point, a form of aural 'Twilight Zone' produced by Bill Lane. Vanishing Point has also become the focus for new radio plays, especially the winners of literary competitions, and of more specific series such as Sextet, which features plays by Canadian women (for example Judith Thompson's award-winning Tornado and Audrey Thomas's Change of Heart). But in the interests of economy, individual plays or series are now repeated in other programme slots such as Sunday Matinee on CBC AM radio, and Stereo Theatre currently on the FM frequency at 7:00 p.m. Stereo Theatre was first heard during the 1988-89 season in a miscalculated attempt to embed it in Erika Ritter's talk show on the arts, Air Craft.

In an attempt to reach a wider audience, Susan Rubes initiated in the summer of 1980 a fifteen-minute daily drama strip for a comedy or a horror or a science fiction piece. Since 1983 this strip has been broadcast in the last half hour of Peter Gzowski's Morningside, and its objectives have become more ambitious: to 'reflect and communicate the Canadian mosaic in an entertaining manner,' to 'highlight the changing Canadian condition and regional attitudes,' 'to provide 15-minute dramas that will not only appeal to the present daytime audience but will attract others as well.' 24 And there has been an extraordinary variety of offerings: Rick Salutin's The Reluctant Patriot, a ten-part documentary on the involvement of Samuel Chandler with William Lyon Mackenzie; Sinner in Exile, a portrait of James Joyce by Michael Cook, which was 'an attempt to reflect the musical exuberance of his style and his life;' 25 a commemorative portrait of George Ryga, using a collage of voices speaking his dialogue, also by Michael Cook, who now favours a 'Brechtian' style for radio drama; and a comedic look back at the formative days of the Dominion Drama Festival, entitled Dancing with Each Other by Carol Bolt. In other words, there is an attempt to inform, as well as entertain, in developing an audience for radio drama. For the 1988-89 season, the director of Morningside, Damiano Pietropaolo, attempted 'to emphasize storytelling, and literary values, instead of action and plot,' to inculcate 'the same sense of intimacy that the program and its host, Peter Gzowski have.' 26 The stories of Alice Munro from The Progress of Love and of Timothy Findley were dramatized. Once again, radio drama mined the power of the spoken word to reach an audience.

Former CBC producer John Douglas stresses the importance of building a broad audience base through the production of more accessible, popular drama - like the Morningside fifteen-minute serial plays - in order to justify the costs of doing the classics for a relatively small audience. But he also admits that audiences resist 'education,' and will rarely transfer from the lighter fare to the classics. According to Douglas the idealistic, egalitarian notions of BBC radio drama producers such as Martin Esslin, who saw broadcasting as a solution to the age-old problems of mass education and mass taste, experienced just such resistance. Radio is not a great social leveller. Like every other art form, radio drama finds its own particular audience. Douglas's opinion is corroborated in a study of BBC audiences by Graham Murdock, 'Organizing the imagination: sociological perspectives on radio drama,' included in Radio Drama:


 
Overall, the social distribution of drama audiences is remarkably stable in both the theatre and broadcasting, and crossovers between radically different forms remain relatively rare.
    Moreover, this social distribution of taste tends to be self-reinforcing, as particular forms become associated in people's minds with particular social groups. To express a preference, then, involves not only the making of an aesthetic choice but also the declaration of a social affinity or identity.27


BBC radio drama has been streamed into Radio 3 and 4, with the majority of listeners coming from the older and more affluent population. In Canada, according to John Douglas, good taste has been lopped off into underfunded ghettos like the PBS. However, this does not preclude the Canadian playwright and producer from probing the cultural and social assumptions of the audience, however limited.28

Producers of CBC drama also stress the importance of reaching an audience by developing the talents of new playwrights. Bill Lane, the producer of Vanishing Point, workshopped the plays of the winners of the Alberta Culture 1988 'Write for Radio' Competition. Three of these were produced in Edmonton by Mark Schoenburg, and broadcast in November 1988 on Vanishing Point (AM only): The Man Who Collected Women by Rose Scollard, King of Another Place by Brad Fraser and Jeff Hirschfield, and The Dinosaur Connection by Cecilia Frey. Similarly, the winners of the CBC Literary Drama competition are featured in regular programme slots, and some are commissioned, or at least encouraged to submit more work. Cordelia Strube, for example, who won first prize for Mortal in 1987, subsequently wrote Shape for Bill Howell's series Playing for Keeps, aired on Sunday Matinee in May 1987, Marshmallow for Canadian Free Theatre in April 1988, and Attached for Stereo Theatre in June. Some of these new playwrights, whose talents were first encouraged by the CBC, have subsequently written works for live theatre - Carol Shields, for example, who won the first prize in the radio drama category of the CBC radio literary competition, was encouraged to write two more plays. Radio drama provides the opportunity to develop new material at minimal expense. But, as Bill Lane contends, there has also been a cross-fertilization: playwrights, directors, and actors who have become established in live theatre, also work for radio - which 'attests to radio drama's renewed importance as a vital, strongly independent art form.' 29 Joan Macleod's Hand of God, taped by the CBC in Newfoundland, was a reworking of Jewel, produced by the Tarragon Theatre while Macleod was writer-in-residence, and Judith Thompson continues to write for radio: A Big White Lie, described in the Radio Guide as a 'relay race for radio,' was broadcast on Sunday Matinee on 17 December 1989, as one of the 'Sextet' series of plays. For the same series Alberta playwright Frank Moher has written a 'Gretzky' play, The City of Champions, in which the citizens of Edmonton attempt to rescue their hero from exile in California, while a thinly-disguised Peter Pocklington villain takes refuge in a flotation tank.

There are also those playwrights who write prolifically and almost exclusively for radio - Rachel Wyatt, for example, who has written more than fifty plays for the CBC since the 1960s, including Escape Routes, a four-part series for Vanishing Point aired in 1987, and Edna Poole is Back in Town Again, about the last visit of Mackenzie King's medium, broadcast on Stereo Theatre, 11 October 1987. Moreover, Rachel Wyatt is one of the few Canadian playwrights to be produced by the BBC - her play Inukshuk is distributed worldwide through the BBC Transcription Service. It skilfully juxtaposes the Inuit myth of Sedna with a contemporary account of a woman who tries to be all things to all people, and who is tempted to abandon her familial and career responsibilities and to lose herself in the vast white expanses of the north. Other playwrights, such as Steve Petch from Vancouver, James W. Nichol, Tom Lackey, and Len Peterson in Toronto, constitute a kind of 'stable' of authors for the CBC. Their dramatic adaptations, documentaries, and original scripts are regularly produced. But despite their wide exposure, they remain relatively obscure figures in Canadian drama. Whether this is due to the medium, which attracts little critical attention, or to the silence of the listeners across Canada, is difficult to ascertain. Despite the apparent falling-off from the Golden Years of radio drama the CBC still produces over one hundred original plays for radio each year (according to the rough estimate of producer Bill Howell), a significant contribution to Canadian theatre.

That there is a large audience for radio can be in no doubt, especially the young, with their heads perpetually plugged into earphones. A question remains, however, as to how much they really listen. To what extent do they understand or question what they are hearing? Radio drama must again cultivate the art of listening by reasserting the aural tradition which is still the basis of literary art forms. The radio dramatist 'can count on his words regaining those literary virtues which literature itself has lost since it has been divorced from the voice.' 30 The impact of radio drama has little to do with numbers, although the national audience for a play produced on Sunday Matinee, for example, is much larger than that of the run of an average 'live' play. Who listens, how they listen, and what the effects are of that listening predicate the value of the work within society. Most importantly, radio drama reaches an audience at a distance, individuals without access to live theatre, who construct for themselves through the sounds on the radio a sense of other places, other people, and perhaps, of themselves.

Notes

CANADIAN RADIO DRAMA IN ENGLISH: PRICK UP YOUR EARS

Anne Nothof

1 TOM LACKEY, personal interview, Toronto 23 Mar 1987
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2 BILL HOWELL, personal interview, Toronto 23 Mar 1987
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3 MARY JANE MILLER eloquently describes the nature of radio drama, and persuasively argues for its importance in the formation of Canadian theatrical styles in 'Radio's Children,' Canadian Theatre Review 36 Fall 1982, pp 30-39
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4 CBC 'Writers Kit,' p 1
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5 BILL HOWELL, personal interview
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6 GEORGE RYGA makes just this point in his essay, 'Memories and Some Lessons Learned,' CTR 36 Fall 1982, p 40:

Reduced to its essentials, radio drama strays very little from the dominant role of the spoken word as both a motivator and poetic interpreter of the human odyssey of spirit and body. And despite many and varied attempts at introducing the magic and bounty of technology such as stereo, kunstkopft, frequency modulation, non-hiss reproduction and such, radio drama profits little from such innovations if productions lack sensitivity and intelligence. A radio director simply cannot cheat or take shortcuts behind the screen of technology. It is too honest and austere an art from to tolerate excesses.

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7 JUDITH THOMPSON, in 'Writing the Airwaves' by SANDRA RABINOVITCH, Radio Guide, Vol 7 No 8 August 1987, pp 2,4
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8 TOM LACKEY, personal interview
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9 The history of this 'Golden Age' and its significance have been well documented by JILL TOMASSON GOODWIN in 'Andrew Allan and the Stage Series,' Canadian Drama/L'Art dramatique canadien, Vol 15 No 1, 1989; by ALICE FRICK in Image in the Mind: C.B.C. Radio Drama, 1944 to 1954, Toronto: Canadian Stage and Arts, 1987; and by HOWARD FINK in 'Canadian Radio Drama and the Radio Drama Project,' CTR 36 Fall 1982, pp 12-22
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10 LEN PETERSON, personal interview, Toronto 23 Mar 1987
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11 Ibid
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12 HOWARD FINK, 'The Sponsor's v. the Nation's Choice: North American Radio Drama,' Radio Drama, ed Peter Lewis, London and New York: Longman, 1981, p 87
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13 Ibid, p 31
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14 JAMES W. NICHOL, personal interview, Toronto 23 Mar 1987
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15 TOM LACKEY, personal interview
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16 BILL HOWELL, personal interview. CAROLE CORBEIL in 'Walking a Thin Line,' CTR 36 Fall 1982, p 47, cites a similar comment by Howell: 'And in terms of Canadian content, we're heading towards what I call an "EST" response to Canadian culture, a sociologists's response. And we all know that sociologists have no sense of humour.'
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17 Radio Guide, vol 7 no 8 Aug 1987 p 27
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18 BILL HOWELL, personal interview
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19 Radio Guide, vol 8 no 10 Oct 1988 p 7
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20 ERNEST BUCKLER, The Mountain and the Valley, transcribed from the CBC radio drama by JAMES NICHOL. The words are all Buckler's, with some judicious editing of the text by Nichol
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21 Radio Guide vol8 no 1 Jan 1988 p 18
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22 CBC 'Writers Kit'
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23 Radio Guide vol 7 no 1 Jan 1987 p 10
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24 CBC 'Writers Kit'
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25 Radio Guide vol 7 no 9 Sept 1987 p 12
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26 Radio Guide vol 8 no 9 Sept 1988 p 10
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27 Radio Drama p 159
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28 JOHN DOUGLAS, personal interview, Toronto 23 Mar 1987
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29 SANDRA RABINOVITCH, 'Writing the Air Waves,' Radio Guide vol 7 no 8 Aug 1987 p 4
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30 LOUIS MACNEICE, quoted in FRANCES GRAY, 'The Nature of radio Drarna,'in Radio Drama p 53
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