The Playgoer: Where's Rachel?

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Where's Rachel?

It's June. It has been over three months since New York Theatre Workshop backed out of producing "My Name is Rachel Corrie." People said the play will only profit from the controversy since every theatre in New York will be bidding for it. Alan Rickman was here a few weeks ago for "meetings."

So where is it?


PeonInChief said...

Two possibilities:

The first is that Rickman has a bunch of good offers and Royal Court is sifting through them for the best deal. This can take some time, and I'd think it prudent for RC to make sure that all the paperwork is in order so that the project doesn't blow up again.

The second is that the NY theaters looked at the NYT/NPR reaction to the first go-round and decided that the powers what be don't want MNiRC here and that Rickman isn't a sufficient celebrity to overcome the media opposition.

freespeechlover said...

Yes, peon in chief, I believe these are the two most realistic possibilities. I believe that the Royal Court has learned to be careful with whom they work, and I don't think they will give it to a theater that wants to do the "contextualizing" bit. But I think it will come to NY, because I can't imagine that someone in the theater world isn't thinking of the bottom line. The inadvertent political theater at the NYTW should guarantee some ticket sales beyond the normal number, but they all better move on it, before it truly fades from memory.

PeonInChief said...

Having thought about this while pulling up a zillion sprouting berries from the tree in my back yard, I'm more inclined to think that the second is more likely. Rickman and Megan Dodds had some sense early on that New York would be difficult, and they all may have decided to go on to other things. Or Rickman's handlers may have told him to cut his losses. Or other theaters balanced the fading controversy with the political and financial losses, and MNiRC came up wanting.

"After the play, we talked with Rickman and Dodds about plans to bring the play to the United States. He was cautiously optimistic about it getting here, but said it would be rough going to find the play a home in New York. I hoped it would come to Olympia first, or at least the Northwest. But New York was set as the launching point for the play's journey in the New World. Still, I regarded Rickman's skepticism skeptically. I didn't see anything remarkably controversial that would keep it out of New York. There are tons of offerings in the New York theatre scene for anyone specifically looking to be offended by something. Consider "Red Light Winter" with all it's naked actors simulating awkward sex at the Barrow Street Theatre. In light of that, a young woman standing on a stage in jeans and a vest talking about playing with Palestinian kids, her dad's neoliberal capitalist job and breaking up with her boyfriend just didn't seem to me all that controversial." from the Palestinian Chronicle

Or maybe I'm just tired of those damn berries...

Anonymous said...

NYTW debated, fairly cordially, with Katharine Viner on NPR, and from that conversation it was fairly easy to see a couple of things. First, Viner knows nothing about what it takes, or doesn't take, to produce even a small play in New York. Second, the decision to postpone on NYTWs part was more financial than the controversy-hounds would have you believe - James Nicola said they never liked the deal the Royal Court was proposing and the RC wouldn't give them enough time to negotiate the contract in good faith.

Contextualized or not, the play might get produced in New York. But the only way to really "capitalize" on the controversy is by letting NYTW themselves go ahead with it. The only nibbles KV and AR and the RC seem to be getting are from dumps like the Rattlestick, and the reason could be because once the theater community saw how badly James Nicola got hosed, they didn't want to risk working with people who run to the L.A. Times and grump the minute something stops going completely their way.

I think Alan Rickman is probably a very charming man, but even he will have a hard time doing damage control after Katharine Viner made such a balls of it in public. If they do get the show up here, one hopes she will stand back.