Rachel Corrie Murder Redux at Dallas’ Second Thought

“I know now she is a symbol to other people in the world…for what she stood for, and Gaza is still under siege … it’s very important her message can continue.” At the ten year rally in Olympia WA, marking Rachel Corrie’s brutal murder by an Israeli driving a bulldozer in Gaza, Cindy Corrie remarked on  her daughter’s death’s continuing impact. The Israeli courts have refused to hold anyone accountable for the murder, a judgment under appeal. Corrie, age 23, had gone to Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement and was acting as a human shield to try to stop Israeli soldiers from destroying Palestinian homes and farms.

To learn about Rachel Corrie and her work supporting the rights of Palestinians: http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/

Second Thought Theatre in Dallas presents a full-length production of Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner’s “My Name Is Rachel Corrie”, with Barrett Nash reprising the title role and Clay Wheeler directing again.  The duo presented a shorter version of the play,drawn from her letters from Gaza to her family, to general critical acclaim last summer at the Bath House Cultural Center’s Festival of Independent Theatres. I thought the full length version at Second Thought opened the weekend of 3/22/13. Apparently it opens tonight, 3/16. I was told they are sold out, don’t have a “house seat” for a mixed up critic (and former longtime nonviolent peace activist).

So. Here is what I wrote about it last summer. Sorry, y’all.

My vote for Best In Show, Festival of Independent Theatres 2012

Barrett Nash as Rachel Corrie

“My Name is Rachel Corrie”, edited by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner from the diaries of American heroine Rachel Corrie. Rite of Passage Theatre Company boldly takes on this tough, biographical one-woman show and achieves dignified, evocative balance between art and political statement. Directed by Clay Wheeler with a light touch opening its serious content freely, joyously to the audience, the play features Barrett Nash as idealistic, committed peace and social justice activist Rachel Corrie from Evergreen College in Washington State. Corrie was murdered at age 23 in March, 2003, by an Israeli soldier who drove a bulldozer over her while she tried to protect a Palestinian family’s home in Occupied Gaza during the Second Intafada. The Israelis have always claimed her death was an “accident”, which eyewitness accounts dispute. It’s not normal Dallas theatre fare (global protest politics gets scant attention off stage much less on), and it makes riveting theatre. With a cinema realite vengeance, Barrett Nash inhabits the intriguing, complex, impassioned Rachel Corrie from the moment lights come up on her as a teenager lounging in her Olympia bedroom. She leads the audience across a poignant revelatory arc of personal development and expanding social conscience without overdrawn stereotype or sanctification. Vulnerable, terrified, determined, Nash tosses you into her knapsack on Corrie’s sad journey across the globe; if you’ve never thought about the Israel-Palestine Conflict from a daily life’s impact perspective, here is your window into that world. “The distance between ecstasy and misery is just a shrug.” Corrie recognizes life’s fragility while never giving up hope; Nash allows Corrie’s diaries to drive her portrayal and shares the activist’s personal discoveries with a fresh, open honesty that pays fitting tribute to the bravery of this genuine American heroine.  I saw it twice, wept copiously both times. Splendid performance, eloquently realized.

Barrett Nash as Rachel Corrie. Hillary Bridgman photo. I have no press photos of current staging.

“…Theatre has no obligation to give a complete picture. Its only duty is to be honest. And what you get here is a stunning account of one woman’s passionate response to a particular situation. And the passion comes blazing through in Corrie’s eloquent reaction to her father’s inquiry about Palestinian violence. As she says, if we lived where tanks and soldiers and bulldozers could destroy our homes at any moment and where our lives were completely strangled, wouldn’t we defend ourselves as best we could?” (from Michael Billington’s Guardian review of the Alan Rickman directed 2005 Royal Court Theatre production) “My Name is Rachel Corrie” has been performed worldwide, including in Haifa, Israel, in Arabic.

Tickets: secondthoughttheatre.com March 16 through 30. $10

Second Thought Theatre stages its productions in Bryant Hall at the Kalita Humphries Theater between Turtle Creek and the Katy Trail, just off Blackburn.

Learn about The International Solidarity Movement: http://palsolidarity.org/

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