The Perfect Pair
Other Plays by Peter Barnes
- Acting Exercise-2m
- Billy And Me-1m
- Heirs Of Diogenes-3m
- Houdinis Heir-1m
- Its Cold Wanderer Its Cold-1m1f
- Lament For Armenians And Grey Viruses-2m
- Losing Myself-1m
- Madam Zenobia-1f
- Moondog Rogan And The Mighty Hampster-2f
- More Than A Touch Of Zen-3m
- Not As Bad As They Seem-2m1f
- Peace Of Westphalia-The-3m
- Perfect Pair-The-3m
- Real Long John Silver-The-2m1f
- Revolutionary Witness-3m1f
- Right Time And Place-The-2f
- Road To Strome-The-1m
- Silver Bridges-2m
- Spirit Of Man A Hand Witch Of The Second Stage-3m1f
- Spirit Of Man From Sleep To Shadow-2m1f
- Spirit Of Man Night Of The Sinhat Sic Torah-3m
- Three Visions-The-3m
- True-Born Englishman-A-1m
Barnes, Peter (English playwright, 1931-____), “The Perfect Pair,”
a __-minute radio play in English, set in the West Port of Edinburgh, Scotland, between Christmas, 1827, and October, 1828,
© 1986 by Peter Barnes;
• in Peter Barnes’ The Real Long John Silver, and Other Plays; Barnes’ People III (Winchester, Massachusetts, U.S.A.: Faber & Faber, Inc., 1986), ISBN 0-571-14558-2, LCCN 86-11641, 114 pp.;
• rights available from AIDC, 2 Acorn Lane, Sunderland Park, Colchester, Vermont 05446, U.S.A.
• Cited in Play Index, 1983-1987: An Index to 3,964 Plays, edited by Juliette Yaakov (____-____) and John Greenfieldt (New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, 1988), ISSN 0554-3037, LCCN 64-1054, 522 pp.
_____ (m), __, _____; _____ (m), __, _____; _____ (m), __, _____.
• “. . . [About] Edinburgh’s notorious bodysnatchers Burke and Hare who provided corpses for medical schools.”—Yaakov and Greenfieldt, p. 20.
• Possibly two of Scotland's most gruesome imports were the serial killers William Burke and William Hare. Burke and Hare hailed from Ulster and moved to Scotland to work as labourers on the Union Canal. Ever aware of a market to meet, Burke and Hare set themselves up as procurers of human bodies to satisfy the demand of Edinburgh's medical schools. Originally the two would dig up the graves of the recently departed in the dead of night, steal the body and then sell it for cash to a doctor for use during anatomy demonstrations. Sounds like hard work and Burke and Hare must have thought so, too, because they decided there was no need to go digging. The two entrepreneurs started murdering people in Edinburghs old town and selling the cadavers of the victims to the medical schools on an ‘ask no questions basis.’ The murder of their 16th victim led to their arrest, along with Burke's mistress and Hare’s wife, yet the courts had little evidence with which to conduct a successful prosecution. The Lord Advocate, Sir William Rae, offered Hare immunity from prosecution if he would turn King’s evidence. The evidence Hare and his wife provided sent Burke to his death on the gallows on 28 January, 1829 while his mistress Helen MacDougall escaped when the charges against her were found not proven. William Hare is said to have died a penniless pauper in London in 1859, while Robert Knox - the doctor who bought most of Burke and Hare’s bodies so willingly - was never prosecuted. Burke and Hare killed their victims by strangling them using a method they had perfected which left no obvious trace of foul play and little evidence of the murder which they had committed. Burke and Hare are remembered in Scotland with a degree of romantic nostalgia. They were after all a most unusual couple of serial killers.”—Burke and Hare, http://www.highlanderweb.co.uk/burkhare.htm, accessed January 30, 2002.
• “Peter Barnes is a writer with an international reputation. His previous work for the stage, which includes The Ruling Class, Red Noses, The Bewitched and Laughter, has established him as one of this country’s outstanding playwrights. He has extensive radio and television credits and his film work has included screenplays for The Ruling Class and The Enchanted April.” — London theatre play Dreaming on stage in London's West End Queen's theater, http://www.albemarle-london.com/dreaming.html, accessed January 4, 2002.
• For reviews of major plays, see
PirHomeFrames_Peter_Barnes, http://www.peterbarnes.com, accessed January 4, 2002.
1827-1828, biography, bodysnatching, Burke (William Burke, ____-1829), corpse, Edinburgh, Hare (William Hare, ____-1859), medical school, notoriety, Scotland.