Howard Barker - Let Me
BBC Radio 3: Drama on 3
Broadcast: Sunday 1st October 2006 @ 8:00 p.m.
Edward Petherbridge stars as a fifth-century Roman landowner making the terrible moral journey from civic hero to murderer in Howard
Barker's play, inspired by a letter by the ancient writer Sidonius. Barker sets himself a formidable task: entering the mind of the
besieged at the end of their tether.
Rome is in terminal decline as Barbarian migrations from Central Europe creep inexorably across the continent. Sixty-year-old Coppola
is a retired Roman official whose family has owned their estate for generations. After the looting of the local cemetery by the invaders
(described in an actual letter by Sidonius), Coppola's plea for help from the town authorities earns only a reply that proves the territory
has been abandoned. Coppola's son and an old female servant arrive to persuade him to give up the estate and save his life. But,
although he avoided conscription as young man, he now decides to brave the hordes without rather than surrender his property. Not
even when the servant is caught leaving and tortured on his front lawn will he relent. But fate hands Coppola a card when a Barbarian
child is caught after climbing into the house. With this hostage, he can perhaps survive.
The drama - a new commission from Howard Barker (also born in 1946) - helps to mark the 60th anniversary of the launch of the Third
Programme (the original name for Radio 3).
With Edward Petherbridge [Copolla], Barbara Jefford [Aphrodite], Andrew Woodall [Euclid], Sam Dale [Agricola, the Postman], and
Emma Noakes [The Barbarian Child].
Produced and directed by Peter Kavanagh.
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