The Playgoer: "Corrie" roundup

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"Corrie" roundup

Another rave for the West End run. This time from those hippies at the Financial Times.

Ditto, from Charles Spencer in the Telegraph.

And a dissenting political view of the play's alleged distortion of the agenda of Corrie's "International Solidarity Movement."

Playgoer reports, you decide.


June said...

Playgoer, did you hear about this forum. It's at noon on a Friday and no one from NYTW is on the panel, but ...

Anonymous said...

Having read a number of the reviews of this play, both from this run and the earlier runs, I think that one of the problems for the US elite, aside from its sympathetic treatment of Palestinians, is Corrie's description of the everyday indignities faced by Palestinians. Americans, who hate waiting more than ten minutes for anything, might understand the rage of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, where the simplest errand can mean a four-hour wait at a checkpoint. And one need only look at the universal dismay of Americans at the recent Supreme Court decision allowing the use of eminent domain (our equivalent of bulldozing houses) for the benefit of private developers. This may explain why a play that is so innocuous politically makes our own elite so nervous. (Rickman/Viner aren't likely prospects for Che posters on their living room walls, I don't think.)

We need only look to the Cuban embargo, another issue where the US elite splits with the elites of other advanced capitalist countries. Some years ago, an Oregon high school debating team went to Cuba for a competition with a Cuban high school team. The topic was the US embargo against Cuba. The leader of the Oregon team noted that, on the specifics of the embargo, what the embargo meant for the everyday lives of ordinary Cubans, the Cuban team had "creamed" them. What we don't know apparently won't hurt us.

freespeechlover said...

thank you very much anonymous. I've done academic research in the West Bank, and your instincts are correct. I think there is a real difficulty in the U.S. understanding in concrete terms what living under the Israeli occupation is like. I did it for a year, under better conditions than when Corrie was in Gaza, and I had to develop far more discipline and creativity to get through daily life due to habits of living in the U.S. I've been ready to pull my hair out waiting at checkpoints that suddenly close, while I've watched an elderly Palestinian woman try and persuade a soldier to let her stand over a well trod, one foot long, white line in the dirt, so she could lean on the side of a building due to her hip hurting. Meanwhile, everyone around her was packed, I mean like sardines, because people heard the checkpoint was going to open. People starting pushing toward the place where you go through inspection. It was like nothing I've ever experienced in my life. I've lived through missile attacks not far from where I was staying, where I heard the rat tat tat of Palestinian gunfire and thought, "well I'm definitely standing on the wrong side right now, since there's no army to protect me."

I think I have some idea of what Corrie went through, but I was older and went during a different moment. The U.S. hadn't decided to fight a war on terror that then could be picked up and used by Sharon to advance his own political interests, and there was less hysteria around speech about Israel. Part of the hysteria, I think, is that taboos have been broken and elites that support Israel, right or wrong, are freaked out about a monopoly on speech being broken.

Anonymous said...


re the Seattle PI dissenting opinion to which you linked, here's my letter to their editor from this morning:

Tuesday April 4th's Opinion article by conservative National Review Online polemicist Giliad Ini is disingenuous in its criticism of "My Name is Rachel Corrie" as being one-sided. Mr. Ini points toward propaganda which is "creating a false dichotomy of blameless Palestinians and faceless Israeli oppressors." There is such propaganda, but this play, which I attended in London, is not such a theatre piece. Surely Mr. Ini is aware that all too often Americans see the other side of the coin he has shown, the side on which the false dichotomy is portrayed of blameless Israelis facing a menacing caricature of the yearning for peace, justice and equity sought by the vast majority of Palestinians.

It should be pointed out here that of the growing body of works of art - four plays so far and counting - about Rachel Corrie, most have involved Jewish artists and supporting agencies in important roles. My cantata about Corrie, "The Skies are Weeping," which underwent cancellations in Anchorage and New York City before being produced in London last November, couldn't have been mounted without the devoted efforts of many London Jews.