note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Beverly Creasey
Rachel Corrie was a bright, precocious child---we learn that from her diaries. We learned her fate from the headlines. When she was twenty-three, she was killed protesting the Israeli demolition of Arab homes on the Gaza Strip. Like the Chinese students in Tiananmen Square, she placed herself in front of a bulldozer but this bulldozer didn’t stop. Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner have fashioned a moving one-woman drama from her writings called MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE (playing at New Repertory Theatre along with PIECES through March 30th).
Even as a small child, she ached to “build the world herself.” She even aspired to be “the first woman president.” This free spirit from the West Coast traveled to Russia while in high school and worked for “peace and justice” causes and green projects while in college. It seemed natural, even imperative, for her to join the international movement for peace in the Middle East.
Even though she commits to “resistance against all odds,” she doesn’t seem, in Rickman and Viner’s play, to realize either the complexity of the Arab-Israeli conflict or the danger to herself. What makes MY NAME a heartfelt play is her passion for the people caught literally between a rock and a hard place. Stacy Fischer perfectly captures the idealistic innocence and unwavering conviction of the young peace worker.
David R. Gammons makes the unwieldy script flow smoothly to its sad conclusion. His cluttered bedroom set for the early scenes morphs into rock and sand under Jamie Whoolery’s harsh lights for the Gaza scenes. Her story reminds me of an old saying: To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world. Rachel Corrie did manage to make a difference, one person at a time.