CBC Radio Broadcasts
Whalley wrote and adapted radio scripts for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1953 to 1971. One of his most famous scripts is for "Death in the Barren Ground," which was produced by Bob Weaver. The radio drama was first broadcast on 3 March 1954, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm, on Trans Canada Wednesday Night. The dramatic work came back into the Canadian public consciousness with the publication of Elizabeth Hay's Giller Prize-winning novel Late Nights On Air (2007), in which it and Whalley's The Legend of John Hornby have important parts. "Death in the Barren Ground" is reproduced here by permission of CBC.
Whalley's supreme achievement in radio may be If This Is A Man, an adaptation of Primo Levi's Se questo è un uomo, an account of his time in Auschwitz. The text of If This Is A Man is introduced by an essay written by John Reeves, the CBC producer with whom Whalley worked. The transcription published here reproduces the layout of production script used to record the broadcast. The importance of the layout is explained by John Reeves in his essay:
"One last detail now, for those of you who have actually seen the script in its facing-page form. On the right-hand page, where Primo has lines, he is in dialogue with other members of the cast and he shares a microphone with them as they re-enact events. But on the left-hand page, all his lines are, so to speak, outside the action. And you will have noticed that his lines are tagged variously with the letters N and D and R. These are the three aspects of what he has to say, and they refer to him as Narrating the events, or Describing the scene or the people, or Reflecting on the meaning of what takes place. Douglas Rain was fully sensitive to the slight difference between the three aspects of his text, and the subtlety of his tripartite delivery was enhanced, if almost imperceptibly, by his speaking into three microphone that differed slightly from each other in their sound quality."
The script of If This Is A Man is reproduced here by permission of John Reeves, who provided his copy of it.