The Playgoer: "Corrie" roundup

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Monday, October 16, 2006

"Corrie" roundup

My own response to follow soon. Meanwhile, here's what the pro's are saying...

Frank Scheck, NY Post:
"Corrie doesn't emerge as a particularly fascinating figure, and her commentaries on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while clearly personal and heartfelt, add little to our understanding of it. It's easy to see why its creators were drawn to the story, but their decision to have the character tell her story in her own words is self-defeating."

Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News:"It's a gripping performance that pulls you deep into Corrie's experience for much of the evening. But not all of it. Diary entries and letters don't always make for the most compelling theater. As a result, the monologue inevitably rambles."... Then again: "If you like your plays political, this one is for you."

Surpsingly, the closest to a rave comes from Eric Grode of the NY Sun, showing admirable independence from his paper's famed far-right editorial biases.

"...a bracing new solo play," says Grode. "Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner have assembled Corrie's letters, e-mails, and journal entries into a vibrant if occasionally slack showcase for the superb actress Megan Dodds. The absence of contextualizing material may constrain its vision, but [Rickman & Viner] plunge us with empathic precision into the principled, vehement, exposed heart of a woman who left Olympia, Wash., 'to witness how awful we can allow the world to be,' and who never came back."

Grode also adds a few remarks on the controversy: "NYTW, which has shown considerable political and aesthetic bravery in the past, and undoubtedly will again, handled the situation ineptly and received a deserved black eye from the artistic community."

You think a "NY Sun" quote in the ad might actually go some way toward reassuring nervous jews? I recommend they use it.

One More: Some unusually harsh words from Newsday's Linda Winer:
"Rachel's story is important, but her words alone are not interesting enough to hold the stage. Since a British documentary...already exists, we question the urgency that her parents, Rickman and co-editor Katharine Viner felt at making Rachel into a drama. Before her death in Gaza, she e-mailed her parents: 'Please let me know if you have any idea what I could do with the rest of my life.' Obviously, no one would have chosen Martyrdom. We see now that they need not had chosen theater."

PPS. And here's the A.P.'s Michael Kuchwara, arguably one of the most widely-read theatre critics in the country, being a wire service writer. He basically agrees with Brantley on faulting Dodd's performance.

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