The Playgoer: "Corrie" in NY "this year"?

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Friday, March 31, 2006

"Corrie" in NY "this year"?

The main "news" coming out of the New York Times review of Rachel Corrie may very well be this aside:

Ewan Thomson, spokesman for the Royal Court Theater, said Thursday that a New York City premiere is still planned for this year, although a theater has not yet been chosen.
That's the most definite statement made yet by the Royal Court on the prospects for any NY production. But it's still not definite, note.

I keep hearing on this site and elsewhere that it's silly to call this censorship when the play can still get produced anywhere even if NYTW can't handle it, and that theatres mustbe chomping at the bit. Well there really is no evidence for that yet, is there? In New York, at least. (Seattle Rep next Spring may very well end up hosting the "long-delayed US premiere.")

Hey, maybe they'll announce something soon, and maybe one day we'll find out everyone really was bidding on it. But until then I'm assuming nothing. For all we know, other artistic directors are looking at this controversy and just want no part of it....As has been suggested, it may take a purely commercial B'way producer, ironically, someone independent of a board and donors, some rich individual who just believes in the play, to mount it him or herself.

As for the impact of the NYT review itself, this also may be what NYC artistic directors are waiting for. Are the enough "marquis quotes" here to sell the prestige factor to audiences here? My take on the review is it's basically a thumbs-up, with the only qualifications about the script being slight queasiness over the politics and slight impatience with the preachiness. But the production is called "powerful" and Rickman and Dodd's work clearly extolled. The quotes are certainly there.

I also wonder how many artistic directors were at last night's West End opening. Maybe it's time to call around and see which AD's took an transatlantic flight this week...

1 comment:

John Branch said...

I'm one who is uncomfortable with the term "censorship," and I may have said so here. My sense of the word is that it involves the suppression of part or all of a work, and that it's exercised by some figure of authority, an official, an agent of the state or (in past times) the church. An example is James Joyce's Ulysses, which was banned by court action for more than a decade in the United States; no American publisher could present the book, nor could it be imported. The case of Rachel Corrie and NYTW seems different to me because no legal authority has ruled that the play can't be presented; what's more, I think it's valuable to remember that the kind of simple, absolute censorship I'm talking about still takes place in other countries--the traditional meaning is far from obselete. However, I recognize that in practice, a play we thought we were going to get to see in New York is for now beyond our reach. I can also see, as I know George Hunka has argued, that governmental authorities are not the only powerful forces at work in our country and that when these forces have effectively suppressed the play for now, perhaps the term censorship ought to be used. I can even see that there's no other simple term that we can use instead. Still, for my own purposes I hesitate to apply it.