The Playgoer: International Perspectives

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

International Perspectives

"Great, a theatre reluctant to trigger vociferous public debate. Apparently, New Yorkers are too naive to decide for themselves whether Corrie was a hero or a pawn, or whether the play is propaganda or effective social theatre, without a whole lot of carefully planned handholding. In Britain, a culture that enjoys intellectual debate as a kind of blood sport, audiences were allowed to make up their own minds; they were trusted to be grownups."

- from one of our neighbors to the north at the Toronto Globe & Mail. The headline gets it right: "The condescension is what offends."

Also, here's a slightly informative update from London's Independent. Did you know Michael Moore has financially supported the West End production?

Which illuminates an already evident schism developing amongst liberals over this issue: those strongly against the censorship (The Nation, Democracy Now) and those taking notice of the story but not alarmed (NY Times, NPR)--or, in the case of NPR, more concerned about offense to Jews than free speech.

Who knew it would be only be the activist "progressives" who would care? Yet again we ask... wither liberalism?


Anonymous said...

Seattle Times - Politically charged "Rachel Corrie" leads bold Rep lineup for 2006-07

THALATTA! Theatre International said...

Though not politically motivated, my company, THALATTA!, has run into issues of a social nature regarding suicide. Our next production, the American premiere of the international sensation,'' by Swiss author, Igor Bauersima, tackles teenagers and cybersuicide. We've seen all too well how a European audience can embrace a sensative issue and respond to it intellectually, while an American audience responds purely emotionally. Though the play in no way promotes killing oneself, it's also not a public service announement. It confronts serious issues and respects the audience enough to come to their own conclusions. With all that we New Yorkers have experienced this century thus far, I think we can be trusted enough with the 'Rachel Corrie' story.

freespeechlover said...

Thank god there is a theater in New York that isn't a Nanny Theater. I was beginning to lose hope that such an institution existed anymore in a city that is supposed to be a site of open mindedness and American cosmopolitanism. And thank god someone still recognizes that at least some of us in the U.S. want to use our minds.

Anonymous said...

A little old-style British anti-Semitism, anyone? The story in the London Independent is okay, but this headline??? "Jewish pressure drives Gaza play out of New York" Ugh. It is not accurate, but picks up a thread of what happened and unconsciously plugs it into a vicious stereotype.

Anonymous said...

Not accurate? Jim Nicola said the reason he pulled the play was that Jewish leaders told him not to do it. He only backtracked from his own statements once he saw that, of everything he said, this supported the charge of censorship more than anything else. I think the headline is accurate, as both the Royal Court and New York Theatre Workshop initially agreed that this was the reason the play was postponed.

Anonymous said...

Jim Nicola said (at first) that some (unnamed) Jews polled by PR flaks expressed discomfort about the play; later he said a Jewish friend told him Corrie was a member of Hamas. But nowhere did he (or anyone) say (not that I saw, anyway, and maybe I missed something) that Jews told him NOT TO DO the play.

The Royal Court gave this as a reason because they heard it from NYTW.