A Richer Dust

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A short story by Noel Coward, adapted into a one-act play by Tim Luscombe 2013.

Los Angeles, 1940. Movie star couple Morgan Kent and Lenore Fingal live in alcohol- and sun-soaked luxury in the Hollywood Hills. But when Morgan’s sailor-brother Sid arrives uninvited, Morgan’s life is turned on its head.

Sid’s on leave. He’s humble, loving, good-humoured, and fighting for Britain. He unwittingly brings with him all the stories about Morgan’s ignoble origins, for Morgan Kent is really Leslie Booker from Southsea. Lenore revels in the ammunition this gives her against her husband, with whom she has become less and less enchanted.

Good-looking and good with women, Morgan (Les)’s life, until Sid’s visit, was full of enchantment – a handsome face, broad shoulders and luck swiftly raising him to fame and fortune – but he’s always been aware that he’s lucky whereas Sid is actually good. When a seductive gossip columnist traps Sid into dishing the dirt, Les’ career, along with his piece of mind, is under attack.

Away from gilded, make-believe Hollywood, Sid boldly continues to protect democracy and save the Empire, while Morgan is reduced to making movies about it. His guilt is so great, he becomes ill. His publicist works overtime to salvage the situation and make the best of his star’s declining fortunes.

While Lenore sues for divorce, a final family reunion back in Southsea rams home the difference between the two men, and provokes the final humiliation for Morgan.

Casting: It is possible to perform the play with as few as 5 (3m+2f) or with many more.

Setting: Multi-locational within Hollywood, and one scene in Southsea, England.

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