Friday, March 30, 2007

My Name is Rachel Corrie - Seattle Repertory Theatre

My Name is Rachel Corrie
Seattle Repertory Theatre
Tickets and Information
March 15 – April 22, 2007

“What would I write about if I only stayed within the doll’s house, the flower-world I grew up in?” This is the very question that started Rachel Corrie’s journey into the world of Palestinian activism in the Gaza strip, and most specifically in Rafah, that would begin her last days. Rachel Corrie was killed by a Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer on March 16, 2003 at the age of 23 while trying to protect a home from destruction in Rafah. A graduate of Evergreen Stage College here in the Pacific Northwest, she brought the experiences that she had growing up here in Washington with her to her work into Palestine. There are many who consider her a martyr. There are also those who consider her a naïve American or even a traitor to the United States for her work for the Palestinians. My Name is Rachel Corrie is not intended to tell you what she was, but who she is and what she did.

Edited from Rachel’s journals by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner of the Royal Court and The Guardian newspaper in London, My Name is Rachel Corrie was first performed in London and, after much controversy between New York and Seattle, has moved here to premier in the United States in her own home area. Rickman and Viner’s editing of Rachel’s journals and email with her parents is chilling to say the least. The continuity and detail is unbelievably intricate and beautiful, yet at times also frightening. If an epitomizing use of imagery is what you’re looking for, this play holds they key.

Photo copyright Chris Bennion 2007

Directed by Braden Abraham (Seattle Rep premier) and acted by Marya Sea Kaminski, this show moves as if Rachel Corrie herself were telling the story. The naturalism of Kaminski’s speech and her ease on stage are testaments not only to her own incredible skill, but of Abraham’s eye for such efficiency. Augmented beautifully by scenic designer Jennifer Zeyl, costume designer Harmony J.K. Arnold, lighting designer L.B. Morse and sound designer Obediah Eaves, this show feels like the inside of the quickly ending mind of Rachel Corrie. The timing of lights and sounds with the action on stage combined with the versatility of the set make for a show that absolutely exudes precision and efficiency.

When going to see My Name is Rachel Corrie, do not go with a light heart. It is a show that has meaning beyond what most of us will ever experience. However, though the subject matter is heavy, the joy of the theater shines through every facet of this production. After the show concludes, follow in Rachel’s footsteps to at least remember always to “see Rachel’s mountain and walk on streets, paved over streams, where the salmon may still be swimming to daylight.”

Review by Nigel Andrews

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