Man of The Moment: SynopsisCast: 5 male / 5 female (+ 7 non-speaking 'actors' + 1 non-speaking female child)
Running time (approximate): 2 hours 5 minutes - not including the interval
Acting edition: Published by Samuel French
Man Of The Moment is set in the paved patio / pool area of a modern, moderate-sized villa in a Spanish speaking area of the Mediterranean. The villa can be glimpsed with doors leading from the living room to a shaded area. This leads to a sunken sunbathing area and the visible raised, angled corner of the deep end of the swimming pool.
Vic Parks is the man of the moment; a celebrity criminal who having spent nine years in jail for a botched bank robbery, has written his autobiography and is now a bona fide television celebrity. Now living in a villa, complete with swimming pool, in the Mediterranean, he has agreed to appear on the TV show Their Paths Crossed. The host Jill Rillington intends to reunite, 17 years on, Vic with Douglas Beechey - the unassuming clerk who foiled the robbery.
Jill hopes to exploit the irony that although Douglas had a brief 15 minutes of fame and married his true love Nerys (incidentally maimed during the raid), the man who has found success and celebrity is the villain. Expecting jealousy, envy and bitterness from Douglas, Jill instead finds a profoundly accepting, honest and good man who has no regrets about his life and is actually a fan of Vic’s TV show. His only wish being that his moment of fame had lasted a little longer.
Douglas is the epitome of good while Vic, despite appearances, is unchanged and brutalises - predominantly verbally, but we are left in doubt it could be physical - his wife Trudy, their gardener and the nanny, Sharon. Where there should be fireworks between the two men, Jill finds Douglas impressed by the villa and quite happy to sit and talk with Vic. Unable to even goad Douglas into saying anything interesting other than that he feels strongly about evil, she realises she has nothing for a TV show which is on the verge of cancellation. Jill films the ‘first meeting’ of Vic and Douglas, despite being together for several hours before, ruthlessly ignoring the fact the gardener could be drowning in order to get her shot - for what it is worth.
Desperate to get something of value for the programme, Jill - during a one-sided interview - tries to lead Douglas into what she wants to hear. Having failed to achieve her aims, she leaves Douglas with a drunken Vic, who cynically explains the art of manipulating interviews. He makes a veiled threat enquiring what Douglas is really after, to which Douglas innocently replies he just wants to exorcise Vic from his and Nerys’s lives. Vic laughs and transfers his attentions to bullying the nanny, Sharon
Trudy comes to talk to Douglas, who opens up to her with painful honesty about his life. Visibly moved and having suggested she needs to be forgiven for Vic’s crimes, she spontaneously kisses him before he leaves the villa. Trudy, overcome by emotion, sees Sharon in a wet suit intent on committing suicide as a result of the way her hero, Vic, has treated her. Trudy pleads with her to stop and paints a true portrait of what it is to live with Vic, who has entered the yard unnoticed. Goaded on by Vic, Sharon jumps into the pool and sinks. As Vic walks way, Trudy attacks him and is incapacitated by Vic just as Douglas rushes back. Seeing Trudy held ‘hostage’ and hearing the same words Vic uttered at the robbery, Douglas lunges at Vic, who is knocked into the pool and drowns, largely as a result of Sharon surfacing and standing on him. The trio, caught red-handed with the dead body, agree to call it an accident. Ironically, Jill has missed the biggest story of her career.
Her prayers have been answered though as the action abruptly stops, the characters are re-cast and the audience become aware this is a TV re-construction with Vic dying by tragic accident and Jill re-writing history to mark the death of a living legend; whether it is enough to save her own career is debatable as she ends the programme with a plea for the audience to contact the programme-makers for more of the series. The play ends with the floor manager counting down the audience to applaud, making them implicitly complicit in the lie.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.