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Saturday, April 15, 2006

L.A. Times

"Yes, it's true...that autonomous thought is the enemy of all who would curtail our freedom. But theater's ability to put us into a more intimate relationship with our supposed enemies is an even more radical proposition. Why else would there be such backsliding about producing a drama about a young woman's diaries and e-mails? Sympathy for an American casualty of the Palestinian cause won't change foreign policy, but it will open minds and hearts to a situation that's less black and white than many have been told.
"The audience for such theater may not be of Broadway proportions, but leaders in the field such as Nicola need to have faith in the potentially large impact of producing small and dangerously."

-L.A. Times theatre critic Charles McNulty in a Sunday essay on the quandry of American political theatre in the mainstream.

(Big hat tip, of course, for citing Playgoer. Welcome LA Times readers! Let's get some bi-coastal theatre conversation going...)

4 comments:

Philip Munger said...

McNulty states in his article "The Royal Court, the storied London theater company that commissioned the play, went public with its dismay at New York Theatre Workshop's handling of the matter and subsequently pulled the rights."

Is that true? I've never sen that in print or in a radio or TV interview.

One more time, we're projected into the wierd world where a credible writer like McNulty has a couple of thousand words to say about a play neither he nor (m)any of his readers heve seen or heard in this age of instant access.

John Branch said...

"Access"--good word, Philip Munger. Access to the play is part of the issue, maybe THE issue. One oddity about this situation is that a published version of Rachel Corrie has apparently been available for some time from Amazon UK, but to my knowledge only Walter Davis thought to order it from them. I haven't checked lately, but it was supposed to become available through Amazon's American website. Did McNulty not even read the play? I haven't checked his article to see; surely he did.

Re. the rights, I too have never heard elsewhere that the Royal Court withdrew them from NYTW. If true, this would mean (among other things) that another NY theater can seek to produce the play.

Anonymous said...

My recollection is that production rights were held by the Royal Court. When Nicola postposed/canceled the play, he suggested that RC might want to look elsewhere for a NY theater. Rachel Corrie's family actually owns the play and profits go to the Rachel Corrie Foundation.

Anonymous said...

Rachel's parents own the rights for the long term, but, as in most first-production cases, the Royal Court has exclusive rights for a specified period. So no one else can do the play during that period without the RC's express permission -- and they apparently want only THEIR production done (as a tour) given that some efforts to mount local productions elsewhere have been quashed by the RC's refusal to grant the rights. Eventually, when that specified period runs out, other theaters can request rights from the Corries.