The work was never announced or listed as a consideration by New York Theatre Workshop but had been planned to reach the downtown Manhattan stage in March.
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.
"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," NYTW artistic director James C. Nicola told Playbill.com in a statement.
"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 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." Nicola hopes to produce the work at a later date. "We continue to have a deep interest in presenting My Name Is Rachel Corrie. We have asked our colleagues at the Royal Court to give us the necessary time to consider how we could present this powerful work with the integrity it deserves. We are awaiting their answer."
For more information on Rachel Corrie, visit www.rachelcorrie.org.