A woman approaching forty revisits her hometown. After years of living in another country, she comes seeking answers from an old friend and that friend’s husband, her former lover …
A Light Gathering of Dust is an intimate tale of personal betrayal and political intrigue for three actors.


“Welcome to a world that not only encourages, but institutionalises betrayal, where one’s emotions are as suppressed as one’s political views, and where change does not bring any real progress. Minimal set and props open up the acting space, where three actors’ compelling interplay … rolls towards an inevitable ending. In this space, political becomes personal, and all layers of emotion, secrets and hidden hypocrisies are stripped like worn out clothes, until all one is left with is the naked truth.”

Ksenija Horvat, edinburghguide.com

Contains scenes of a sexual nature.

Playwright’s Note

“It is estimated that during the brief history of the German Democratic Republic (1945-1990) close to one in fifty of the total population ‘co-operated’ in some capacity with the secret police (Stasi) in spying on his/her own friends, neighbours and families.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the re-unification of Germany, a substantial portion of Stasi files were made public. A distinctive feature of these open files was the large black lines which obliterated any information the new regime considered ‘delicate’.

The repercussions from this process of de-Stasification are still being felt today.”

Above is the playwright’s note that appeared in the programme for the original Edinburgh production back in 2001, when that last line carried a little more weight perhaps. I was pleased to note that audience members for the 2011 New York revival identified the non-specific setting of the production as any number of post-revolutionary societies: Chile, South Africa, Iraq …  any state in which personal betrayal has been effectively institutionalised.




The story at the heart of a light gathering of dust concerns a triangle of lovers … and how one decides to inform upon the other two. The reason for her betrayal is both personal and political — in fact, under the constant pressure of surveillance, it is impossible to unknot the two. What the opening of the files does is fill the air with the dust that comes from excavated secrets, breathed in and breathed out, and these three are forced to unify within themselves what their [reunified country] tells them about who they were, are, and hope to be … As is always the case with anything the Potomac Theatre Project creates, the production values are excellent, the direction is sure-handed, and the acting is vibrant, spacious, and assured … Mr. Dykes strikes the right balance between revelation and mystery, and it is a delight to watch the ease with which the three actors navigate the time and emotional shifts of the play.

Michael Bettencourt, Scene4 Magazine, New York, July 2011 


An intelligently written and directed piece … The compelling interplay is enhanced by Englishby’s evocative original score … This is a brave show in many ways. It will move you and make you think.

The Edinburgh Guide, Edinburgh, August 2001


Dykes’ script smacks of dark Milan Kundera and Englishby’s fine piano and cello score evokes a sadly waltzing atmosphere.

The Scotsman, Edinburgh, August 2001

Production History

NXT, Gateway Theatre, Edinburgh Festival, 2001

1, Nesba Crenshaw
2, Hollie Garrett

3, Scott Ainlsie

Director, Nesta Jones
Designer, Nigel Hook

Music, Paul Englishby


Potomac Theatre Project (PTP/NYC), Atlantic Stage 2, New York, 2011


1, Stephanie Janssen
2, Megan Byrne
3, Alex Draper

Director, Cheryl Faraone

Designer, Hallie Zieselman

Lighting Designer, Mark Evancho


PTP/NYC, Atlantic Theatre Stage II, New York, July 2011


A Light Gathering of Dust

  • Categories: Cast size less than 8 / Contemporary / Set in Europe
  • Cast: 2 Women, 1 Man
  • Setting: Undisclosed / Contemporary
  • Running Time: 75 Minutes
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  • Performance Rights: Rights Currently Available.
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