While the play has inspired protest and controversy, “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” is, essentially, the story of one woman.
A Seattle Repertory Theatre production of the play, adapted from the writings of Corrie, The Evergreen State College student who was killed while standing in the way of an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza, opens Thursday. It already has played in London and New York amid controversy centered on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But the play itself is a personal story.
“This is a play about a young woman growing up and discovering who she is and discovering her voice as a writer,” said Craig Corrie of Olympia, Rachel’s father. “It’s disconcerting to see all this political storm around simply what somebody saw. It’s her experience, and in a sense, that’s undeniable.”
The program for the Seattle Rep production, printed by an outside contractor, includes ads that question the play.
“The Anti-Defamation League and several other groups have sponsored some ads in the program that call into question the validity of the play,” said director Braden Abraham of Seattle. “It’s unprecedented for a group to take out ads in our program condemning our material. That is unique.
“We encourage people who have questions about the play to come see the play,” he said. “As a theater, we speak from the stage.”
Many protests against the play have come from people who haven’t seen it, said Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother.
“I don’t think there’s another play that had so much written about it before it even got here,” she said. “People have expectations for it that are impossible for it to meet.”
Those who think of the play as being a political piece about Rachel’s activism and death in Gaza might be surprised to learn that the action begins right here in Olympia, Cindy Corrie said.
“It’s really an Olympia story and a Northwest story,” she said. “I’m glad that people here will have an opportunity to go see the play for themselves. There’s sadness associated with it, and there may be some conflicting views about it, but I hope people will also draw inspiration from it.”
“Almost half of the action is not about Rafa,” the town where Rachel died, Craig Corrie said. “The play was taken from Rachel’s writings beginning when she was about 10 years old. It’s taking place in Olympia and back to Lincoln School. Rachel writes about how salmon are swimming in a storm sewer under Plum Street and up to Watershed Park.
“It’s intimately and uniquely Olympia because Rachel was an Olympia girl.”
In London, the Corries met a politically conservative Israeli couple who had seen “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” while on holiday.
“They said to Cindy, ‘This play is not anti-Israel – it’s anti-violence,’ ” Craig Corrie said. “They loved the play. They came with an open mind and left with …”
“An open heart,” Cindy Corrie added.
Read Play lets Rachel Corrie speak
by Molly Gilmore For The Olympian ~ March 14, 2007
Also read actor Marya Sea Kaminski’s entries in the Rep’s
Backstage @ Seattle Rep blog. She is playing Rachel in My Name is Rachel Corrie.
Monday March 26th, 2007
We saw the play last night. Thank you so much Cindy and Craig for sharing this with us. It was very powerful and I came away feeling like I knew Rachel better and understood much more how much we have lost.
Alec posted something on his blog about it this morning.
See My Name is Rachel Corrie by Alec Clayton.