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Theatre review: My Name Is Rachel Corrie, Tron, Glasgow

  • by JOYCE MCMILLAN
 

MY NAME is Rachel Corrie is a solo play about a journey, short, vivid and utterly memorable.

My Name is Rachel Corrie

Tron, Glasgow,

Star rating: * * * *

At one level, it is a journey from the quiet town in Washington State where Rachel Corrie was born in 1979 – and raised to become the fiery and gifted young writer, student and peace activist she became - to the streets of Rafa City in Gaza, where she died on 16 March 2003, crushed under the blade of an Israeli bulldozer destroying Palestinian homes. And it’s also a play about Rachel’s heartbreakingly brief journey from a noisy, mouthy, rebellious youth into a kind of adulthood, shadowed by the knowledge that terrible evil is done in the world, and that often no-one acts to prevent it.

Born of the great wave of verbatim drama that swept through British theatre a decade ago, Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner’s fine two-hour play uses only Rachel Corrie’s own words – from her own diaries, e-mails, and web postings – to tell her story; and now, three years on from its first appearance at the Citizens’, Ros Philips’ superb staging of it is revived by Mull Theatre for a substantial Scottish tour, in a slightly more spacious production, that offers Mairi Phillips’ intense, glowing and deeply moving performance more room to breathe.

There’s no pretence here that this noisy, mercurial Rachel is always an easy person. Yet to watch this beautifully-shaped drama, in this intense and radiant performance, is to experience the most disturbing challenge to the complacency and passivity that allows us to look the other way, in the face of suffering and injustice. As Rachel said in a speech recorded when she was aged ten, “we are them, and they are us”; and in failing to act on that knowledge, we reveal ourselves not as old and wise, but as defeated, and deeply compromised.

 

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