BBC Radio 4: Thirty Minute Theatre
Broadcast: Tuesday 1st May 1979 @ 11:00 a.m.
"The Slender Voice" is set in Poland in the mid 1950s. After the war, Frank Lapinski worked as a sapper who was put to work clearing mine fields. He became very good at that - people said he had a nose for it; a sort of sixth sense, even before the mine detectors picked them up. The mines were everywhere and he discovered many of them but then came number 306 which he felt uneasy about. His foot triggered a plate mine and the rest was a blur. For the first six years he couldn't adjust but now he's use to it.
Frank is spending his vacation at a camp for the blind where they go out canoeing with an instructor on the lake every day, if the weather is good, in groups of six to ten canoes. If anyone doesn't want to, they can stay on shore with one of the other instructors and go for a walk or have a swim. Their instructor feels that the element of risk involved restores their faith in their own powers, more than any kind of rehabilitation on land. It gives blind people pleasure and a sense of freedom.
After one afternoon of canoeing on a lake, the group of blind canoeists find, during a role call, that one of their group did not return. Of the ten canoes that went out, only nine came back. Frank is missing and a visual inspection of the lake shows nothing. While the group was out by the reeds near the island, Frank had struck out on his own into the reeds, avoiding detection from the Instructor.
But as the search mounts for Frank, he comes across a mysterious woman hidden in the reeds....
Translated by Marcus Wheeler from Leszek Prorok's (Polish author, 1919-1984) short story.
With John Shrapnel [Frank Lapinski], Kate Binchy [The Girl], Eric Allan [The Instructor], Manning Wilson [The Director], and Peter Craze [Norman].
The canoeists were played by Josie Kidd, Alison Draper, Andrew Branch, Peter Wickham, Tim Bentinck, Joe Dunlop, John Bull, Crispin Gillbard, and Karen Archer.
Directed by Martin Jenkins
Back to top