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    14 July, 2006

    Enemy for the people

    62688796eventimageeng_1 We went to see Gary Owen's latest play, An Enemy for the People, at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff last night. Gary is one of Wales's best young playwrights, with a string of plays to his name. The first of these that I saw was Crazy Gary's Mobile Disco, a few years ago.

    Gary has a fine ear for dialogue and the rhythms of South Wales' speech, and is a great comic writer.

    There is a blog about the making of the play. Gary has described the emotions that led to its writing:

    'In 1997 I hugged complete strangers on Borth beach when we won the referendum, and anything seemed possible in that brave new dawn. Skip ahead to 2003, and those fools down the Bay are arguing about where to sit. I have not forgotten: and now I will be revenged.'

    I was elected in 2003, and within a month or two found myself having to sit on a damn-fool committee to discuss seating, so I knew how he felt. There was an interesting post-play discussion which I joined in from the audience last night.

    The play is a very funny satire and imagines a small country on the brink of moving from devolution to independence in a referendum, asking questions about politics and its relation to our lives. It has a couple of recognisably Old Labour - and one distinctly New Labour - characters, but frankly it takes us beyond party politics to ask more general questions about Wales, and issues of self-confidence and self-belief. It sends up our love of 'lost leaders' who might have redeemed us, and one episode in the play clearly draws on events that caused the demise of a specific recent 'lost leader'. It also takes a shot in passing at other targets such as Welsh poets who slum for publicity photos, before returning to safer environments. I won't write more about the content - you should see it for yourself. It is on until Sunday night.

    Make your own mind up - what's good is to see an important young playwright engaging with Wales's new developing democracy.

    Rhondda TV
    The Labour Party

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.