The Playgoer: more "Corrie"

Custom Search

Friday, June 23, 2006

more "Corrie"

Not much more follow up today on yesterday's announcement of the New York premiere of "My Name is Rachel Corrie" in a commercial Off-Broadway next fall. Here's the report from Playbill.com with an innocuous Alan Rickman statement. On the political front, here's an interesting post by TPM Cafe's Marc Parent, juxtaposing the play's continued life with a recent Israeli Supreme Court decision on the West Bank bulldozing policies there.

Parent cites in full a recent NY Times op-ed this week by an American who's spent time in the Israeli army, advocating against the very policy Rachel Corrie died opposing:

Israel can't stop hunting down its enemies. Can it do so without bulldozing houses that harbor terrorists? Certainly it can. Raiding a house is a dangerous operation, but good intelligence, proper planning and careful execution can, in most cases, reduce the risk to a reasonable level.In some cases, the risk may be too great and the operation may be canceled or postponed until the next opportunity comes around.

...Getting rid of the bulldozer may well mean that some terrorists will get away, and sadly, that more soldiers will die. But in the final analysis, Israel and its soldiers will not be less secure. They will occupy the high ground, and that is the most secure place to be.


By Fall, 2006, Rachel Corrie may very well be less controversial than at the time of its premiere in Fall, 2005. At least in New York. (In London it wasn't controversial to begin with.) So was New York Theatre Workshop right that the play needed to wait until "the right time"? Maybe--on some specific occupation issues themselves, that is. No doubt there will always be many here at the ready to accuse anyone questioning Israeli policies of anti-semitism, no matter how much reasoned debate you have in your post-show discussions.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

No way, Playgoer. NYTW was not right to think they should wait for things to "cool down" in Isr/Pal. From the Zionist right, things never do, and it's only the Zionist right that objects vehemently to MNIRC. (And, in fact, the occupation continues in all its land-grabbing, humilations, depradations and violence--including house demolitions with Caterpillar bulldozers.) Sure, the NYT could run a somewhat critical op-ed now - but it has done so many times (hardly often enough, hardly crtiical enough -- and bupkiss compared to the LA Times running far stronger pieces on similar themes by Henry Siegman). But the rabid right-wing is just as rabid as ever -- check their websites. On what basis do you claim that by 2006 MNIRC will be less controversial here? The same nuts will go after it.

THALATTA! Theatre International said...

I'm curious if all the 'controversy' won't overshadow the actual production. The subject matter is certainly not something most folks are looking for when they want a 'night out at the theatre'. That's why the producers are brilliant. Keep it small and exclusive. Set a 'limited run' (which they'll no doubt extend) and get every tom, dick and harry to pay full price. In this case, no press is bad press. The show will be sold out before the critics get to have their field day. Someone once told me the best marketing gimmick was to stand outside your own show and protest it. Brings them in droves supposedly.

The Playgoer said...

We'll see just what controversy does for box office in this case. I personally think it's a more unpredictable factor.

And indeed the controversy is far from over regarding this play and Corrie herself--my musings to the contrary notwithstanding. Just think of what the pro-Likud press in this city can do with 4 months now to prepare. Get ready for some pretty harsh and highly personal "exposees" on Corrie that will go for the jugular to counteract the sympathetic presentation of her in the play.

Philip Munger said...

Garrett says,

"So was New York Theatre Workshop right that the play needed to wait until "the right time"? Maybe--on some specific occupation issues themselves, that is. No doubt there will always be many here at the ready to accuse anyone questioning Israeli policies of anti-semitism, no matter how much reasoned debate you have in your post-show discussions."

This only one of a number of cases in which the Israeli courts have addressed IDF demolition policies in the occupied territories since Rachel Corrie died defending a specific house. That house remained standing for a long time after her death, then was destroyed. No smuggling tunnels were discovered as a result of that demolition. The family who lived in that house, and presumably would have known something about smuggling tunnels in their house, has traveled freely in the USA since the demolition.

MNIRC addresses that issue very little. It is a "coming of age has its price" play.

Other art about Corrie has covered aspects of IDF demolition policies more directly, but none I know of has tried to recreate the scene of her death.

Your hesitant questioning the of timing of the premiere shows how much more you have to learn about this issue, Garrett, in spite of your having become a very well informed arts commentator when it comes to Israel/Palestine issues. MNIRC could be done in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, win every major Israeli theatrical award, and a preponderance of American Zionists would condemn the play, the actor, the producers and anyone supportive of it.

Damn, I should have bought you a round trip ticket from NYC to London and gotten one of my friends to wangle you a ticket when the spring run was going!

freespeechlover said...

Well, one thing is for sure. The New York Times will diss the play. THAT, I think we can count on. No they won't call it anti-Semitic. They'll intimate that it's "propaganda" or "biased" or is "pro-Palestinian." They'll promote their own rather trenchant view of the conflict by sniping--oh, you know, "according to some Israel sources, Corrie was working with Palestinians practicing 'terrorism' blah blah blah."

OR, suddenly the New York Times will discover radical aesthetic theory and we'll be hearing about the limits of docu-drama.

I predict that they will find some way to make themselves sound like they're just being "objective," and "theatrically minded," while basically saying the production wasn't "worth" all of the controversy.

I think reading their coverage thus far is revealing of how much the Times has to struggle between two principles they supposedly believe in--free speech and Israel. Yes, I know, they occasionally run an op ed by someone to make themselves look "fair and balanced," but their coverage of anything having anything to do with Arabs (and look at Iraq!) is far from fair, let alone, balanced.