It began with the ending really. My Name is Rachel Corrie is an intriguing and passionate one-woman drama directed by Shannon Murphy and is about the impassioned life of Rachel Corrie, who as a 12 year old girl already had a depth of understanding and fortitude beyond her years.
Set in her messy bedroom in Olympia, Washington, actress Belinda Bromilow as Rachel Corrie gives an earnest and sensitive portrayal allowing us to enter Rachel’s world of passionate thought, empathy and humane vision for the world. Primarily a monologue and based on excerpts from Rachel’s journal entries and emails back home. It traces her evolution as a teenager growing up in America, where she struggles with idealistic beliefs and later on in her life, their clash with the violent reality occurring in Palestine.
The intimacy of the Downstairs Belvoir St Theatre provided the perfect setting for highlighting Rachel’s passion as an activist combined with an artist’s sensibility. Her humane and artistic vision of the world led her at 23, to aid Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where Rachel volunteered with the non-violent International Solidarity Movement, a pro-Palestinian activist group.
Gaining access to the homes and families in Palestine, she asked them why they let her into their homes so freely. “We are not a hotel. We think you will tell the people in your country that you lived with Muslims. We are good people, we are quiet people and we just want peace.” This access to people’s homes gave Rachel direct experience of their plight and further activated her defence of them, while in Gaza.
Half way through the performance I was lost to the relentless nature of monologue. While I am more than sympathetic to the cause that Rachel was actively participating in, the political and violent constancy of the monologue required some relief. In fact, the video footage at the end of Rachel herself, at 12 making a strong and impassioned speech held more emotive influence for me and provided a fitting conclusion to this 90 minute drama.
This play is an important story and its theatrical portrayal is the right medium to understand the actuality of Rachel’s writings and her unique and humane voice. My Name is Rachel Corrie is a powerful reminder to us all about the importance of following your truth, and living your life fearlessly and with the courage of one’s convictions no matter what the cost. And it seems that Rachel wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Bareboards Productions and B Sharp present
My Name is Rachel Corrie
The writings of Rachel Corrie
Edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner
Venue: Belvoir St Downstairs Theatre, 25 Belvoir St, Surry Hills
Preview: 14 May 2008
Season: 14 May – 1 June 2008
Times: Tues 7pm, Wed-Sat 8.15pm, Sun 5.15pm
Tickets: $29/$23 (Preview $20, Cheap Tues Pay-what-you-can min $10)
Bookings: 9699 3444 or www.belvoir.com.au