... And finally, on the National's Cottesloe stage, Peter Gill (as both author and director) premieres ''Cardiff East,'' which is that total rarity, a play about latter-day Wales. It was Paul Scofield as Thomas Moore who queried one of his clerics selling out his principles for that particular area: ''What shall it profit a man to betray his own soul for the world, but for Wales?'' That attitude of shameful dismissal persists theatrically to this day. For great plays about Wales you have to go back to Emlyn Williams and Dylan Thomas. But Gill's thesis is that all the world comes together in Cardiff: he has written and staged a prose update of ''Under Milk Wood'' in which a group of often soap-operatic characters come together to consider what if anything their Welshness actually means today, if they are not to be just a group of immigrant strangers who happen to have made their home there. Across an often raucous and rancid human landscape of the mind, Gill has assembled his witnesses in comedy and ultimate tragedy to reflect a cross-section of a society he evidently knows and loves intimately. If the play doesn't altogether hang together, then neither does the society it represents. A large cast led by Kenneth Cranham make of this complex patchwork both a celebration and an epitaph for Wales.
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