The Playgoer: Anyone go to Rachels Words last night?

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Anyone go to Rachels Words last night?

I didn't make it. But a quick blog search turned up this descriptive account and this one.

If anyone else out there went, please share in Comments here. I'm especially curious to hear more about what Mr. Corrie (Rachel's dad) apparently said in response to Jim Nicola's jaw-dropping admission on Democracy Now that he cancelled the show because someone told him Rachel was "a member of Hamas"--without bothering to find out if it was true.


Mark said...
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Mark said...
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Mark said...

Thanks for the shout-out!

Craig Corrie was articulate, dignified and emotional. He repeated the phrase "Use your head, Jim!" two times, stating the obvious fact that Hamas doesn't just go around taking white girls as members.

Mark said...

(My first comments were confusingly worded.)

Jason Grote said...

Yes, I was whatever you call the guy who runs up and moves the microphone around for the musicians. It was great in many parts, but did add up to a sort of interminable lefty event (through NO FAULT of the amazing Rachel's Words organizers, I should add - they assembled some terrific sppeakers, and did their best to keep everyone from going over 5 minutes). Having been to a great many of these types of things, I wish we in the progressive community would transfer more of our ideology about sharing to the sharing of stage time - longer speeches don't add up to more positive change.

Betty Shamieh's speech was a highlight, as was Palestinian-American comic from Maysoon Zayed (sp?). The Corries were very touching - Craig was obviously nervous, and answered the allegations against Rachel very convincingly. As he said, Hamas is not in the business of admitting American non-Muslims, and the residents of the house Rachel was killed while protecting were clearly not terrorists, as they were later awarded visas by both the USA and Israel.

I don't think the Hamas remark alone was intended to be Jim Nicola's justification, but saying that all the nonsense on the internet had something to do with it was ill-advised to say the least - it's like saying he had never been online before. We all know the internet is all aobut the 3 M's - Misinformation, Masturbation, and tiMe-wasting.

OK, that one needs a little work.

Based on my conversation with Linda Chapman, and on rumors and speculation, what I understand is that no PR firm in town would take this show on - Phil Weiss' NATION article is close, but I don't think Ruder-Finn or anyone else held a threat over NYTW's head - they just didn't want to deal with the hassle of defending the play, especially for what NYTW could pay them. Jim didn't want to take on the AIPAC (etc) attack machine on his own (and we can all see how astute the man is at PR), and he is fairly used to calling the shots with impunity at NYTW, so he pulled the play and got totally blindsided. He could probably spare himself a lot of headaches by admitting this, but he is now trapped - he has already alienated the Royal Court, and by owning up to this, he risks pissing off the PR forms with which he will have to work in the future. He is probably still worried about AIPAC et al too.

Obviously Jim has bungled this whole thing, and there are many justifiable complaints about the way he runs NYTW, but he has also shown lots of creditable courage in the past - Kia Corthron has noted how he stood behind her when his subscription audience balked at a play about homeless black people, for one - so I, personally, would rather expend my energy going after the militaristic right wing spreading these vicious lies to begin with...

Playgoer said...

Thanks Jason, for sharing your impressions of Wednesday night.

About Kia Cothron, by the way. I don't doubt Nicola was supportive of her, and she's a tough writer for many to stomach. But funny story--I remember that play a couple of summers ago. I booked tickets to take a whole class. And NYTW closed it, weeks early, due to slow sales. Thus my students and I never got to see it.

I'm glad Kia's recovered.