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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

 
MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE
at the Minetta Lane, New York

TEAR DOWN THE WALLS
By Raven Snook

  Bree Elrod as Rachel Corrie/Photo: Paul Kolnik

There was a lot of drama surrounding the off-Broadway production of My Name is Rachel Corrie. Unfortunately, the show itself didn't remotely live up to the hype. And that's a shame since the too-short life and tragic death of 23-year-old American protestor Rachel Corrie--who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah back in 2003--was anything but boring. A longtime political and social activist, Corrie was an idealistic youth, confident that she could change the world. But while the script is comprised of her own words lifted from her journals and emails, it's missing her, for lack of a better term, soul. If Corrie herself were here to read them, perhaps we could feel her passion. But coming out of the mouth of Megan Dodds--who is both much too glamorous and much too old for the role--Corrie's words sound like self-obsessed, angst-ridden teen scribbles.

Not to imply that Corrie was inarticulate. She was in fact quite gifted. But she wasn't writing a play, after all. And although director/adapter Alan Rickman (yes, the Harry Potter star) has tried to shape her writings into a compelling narrative, he shouldn't quit his day job. The first portion of the show takes place in Corrie's bedroom, as she rambles sometimes poetically, often bathetically, about injustice, international relations and, inevitably, boys. When she goes to the Middle East to practice what she preaches, her words, and Dodds' performance, become more frantic. With a minimal set crumbling behind her, it's clear that Corrie's world is falling apart just like the Palestinians' whom she is there to help.

But the interesting stuff took place off stage. First, New York Theater Workshop came under fire when they allegedly reneged on producing the American premiere of the show. Then there were the pro-Israeli activists, who handed out flyers at the Minetta Lane door about "The Forgotten Rachels:" Israelis killed in suicide attacks since Corrie's demise. Even the drama surrounding Corrie's death--deemed a murder or accident, depending on who you talk to--wasn't addressed in the script. Instead, the show exists simply as an uninspiring portrait of a complex woman.

 


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