Controversy Breeds Controversy as My Name Is Rachel Corrie May See NY Stage

News   Controversy Breeds Controversy as My Name Is Rachel Corrie May See NY Stage
 
The London play, My Name Is Rachel Corrie, penned by actor Alan Rickman and journalist Katherine Viner, about the death of an American protestor killed in the Gaza Strip, may now see the New York stage, according to The New York Times.

Amid dueling press statements between London's Royal Court Theater and the New York Theatre Workshop — where a planned Off-Broadway run of the work was scheduled then postponed — the UK-based company has fielded offers from other stateside producers interested in transferring the work.

Royal Court spokesperson Ewan Thomson told the New York daily that the company wished to transfer the work to New York "as soon as we possibly can," in an effort to capitalize on the show's momentum. The work next transfers to a 36-performance West End run at the Playhouse Theatre, March 28-May 7, with original star Megan Dodds in the title role.

Seen last year at London's Royal Court Theater, My Name Is Rachel Corrie tells the story of the titular activist for Palestinian rights who was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer in March 2003. The work is concocted using her journals and emails. The occurrence has drawn wrath from both sides of the politically fueled fence — some saying the death was accidental and others contending it was not.

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In response to a previous New York Times article which roused much attention, NYTW artistic director James C. Nicola previously told Playbill.com in a statement, "As the artistic director of New York Theatre Workshop for 18 years, I have worked to help our audiences and our community engage in an open and civil discourse on issues of our time. Our purpose for being is to create the most conducive place for these conversations; we have chosen the artists who lead these conversations with great care." "We always try to minimize the distractions around the production so our constituency can hear the artist's voice. This takes a great deal of planning and listening to accomplish. In the less than two months we had to mount the proposed production of the Royal Court's My Name Is Rachel Corrie, we found that there was a strong possibility that a number of factions, on all sides of a political conflict, could use the production as a platform for their own agendas. We were not confident that we had the time to create an environment where the art could be heard independent of the political issues associated with it."

Rickman (last seen on Broadway in Private Lives and known for turns in the "Harry Potter" films) directed the drama in London which he penned with The Guardian journalist Viner. Viner previously told The New York Times "I was devastated and really surprised. And in my view, I think they're misjudging the New York audience. It's a piece of art, not a piece of agitprop."

For more information on Rachel Corrie, visit www.rachelcorrie.org.

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