Barnes’ People is a series of wonderfully varied monologues from deeply imagined individuals. Whether their stories are historical, fantastic or familiar, they are always intimate and human.
‘Confessions of a Primary Terrestrial Mental Receiver and Communicator: Num III Mark I’ is spoken by a man who finds a meaning for his life through covert correspondence with aliens.
‘The Jumping Mimuses of Byzantium’, spoken by an aged hermit, is based on a legend of a tumbling jester and a wanton prostitute with a nocturnal secret.
‘The Theory and Practise of Belly-Dancing’ is about finding a way to survive the everyday.
‘The End of the World – And After’ is spoken by William Miller, a preacher who amassed a large following by predicting that Christ’s Second Coming would occur in 1844.
A one-hundred-and-thirteen year old woman tells an interviewer about her calmly scurrilous life in ‘Yesterday’s News’.
‘Glory’ is the final oration of Peregrinus Proteus, an Ancient Greek philosopher famous for parricide, before he steps on to his own funeral pyre.
In ‘No End to Dreaming’, an old man tells his psychoanalyst about growing up in the Cracow ghetto and about his dreams.
The monologues were presented by BBC Radio 3 in 1981.