Toronto's CanStage Cancels Corrie

News   Toronto's CanStage Cancels Corrie
Toronto's CanStage has canceled its production of My Name is Rachel Corrie, the controversial play about the real-life 23-year-old American who was killed by an Israeli Army bulldozer while protesting the razing of a Palestinian house.

According to published reports, Martin Bragg, the company's artistic producer, says that he canceled the play for reasons of merit, not for its political content. Bragg originally read the play and scheduled it for CanStage's 2007-08 season. But he changed his mind after seeing the New York premiere, which began previews Oct. 5 and closed Dec. 17 at the Minetta Lane Theater.

"It didn't seem as powerful on the stage as it did on the page," he told Variety. "The theatre was half full and at the end of the play, there was only lukewarm applause," he told the CBC website.

Variety quotes a CanStage board member and a CanStage donor expressing skepticism about whether Jews would be receptive to the play, but Bragg assured the paper, "I pick the plays. No one on our board has ever told me what we can and can't do."

Rachel Corrie is edited by Alan Rickman and the journalist Katharine Viner from Corrie's writings. Rickman directed the play in New York and, before that, in London at the Royal Court Theatre and the West End.

The play became the subject of a heated debate this past spring when it was scheduled and then postponed at Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop. The Royal Court and the play's creators accused the New York company of censorship while the New York troupe stated it merely sought to present the play in a climate suitable for the volatile work. The play's eventual New York premiere went up at the Minetta Lane, produced by Dena Hammerstein and Pam Pariseau, without NYTW's involvement. Subsequent productions are being planned at other venues, such as Seattle Repertory Theatre, which has scheduled the play for March 15–April 22, 2007.

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