Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Much more Corrie, another "Talking To" review

Comprehensive, well written and deeply disturbing article by Philip
Weiss about Rachel Corrie and the pressure to silence her POV as
expressed in the "My Name Is..." play in the current Nation.

"Few knew that Corrie had been a dedicated writer. "I decided to be
an artist and a writer," she had written in a journal, describing her
awakening, "and I didn't give a shit if I was mediocre and I didn't
give a shit if I starved to death and I didn't give a shit if my
whole damn high school turned and pointed and laughed in my face."
Corrie's family felt it most urgent to get her words out to the
world. The family posted several of her last e-mails on the ISM
website (and they were printed in full by the London Guardian). These
pieces were electrifying. They revealed a passionate and poetical
woman who had long been attracted to idealistic causes and had put
aside her work with the mentally ill and environmental causes in the
Pacific Northwest to take up a pressing concern, Palestinian human
rights. Thousands responded to the Corries, including a
representative of the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, London,
who asked if the theater could use Rachel's words in a production--
and, oh, are there more writings? Cindy Corrie could do little more
than sit and drink tea. She had family tell the Royal Court, Give us

Democracy Now today had an interview with Nicola and NYTW and also Royal Court's Viner re: the production which was originally scheduled to open today. It referenced the Nation article, and in at least 2 instances NYTW's people said Weiss had the facts wrong re: who was pressuring the theatre not to do the script.

review today:
Stark view of ‘Terrorists’ chills
By Terry Byrne Boston Herald
Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The stars of ‘‘Talking to Terrorists” include a convicted IRA bomber, the former leader of the Palestinian Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a former member of the Kurdish resistance in Turkey and a child soldier from Uganda. Each tells his or her story, not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but to put a face on acts of violence and examine extremes of human behavior.

The impact of Sugan Theatre Company’s production is both riveting and revolting, horrifying and hypnotic. Playwright Robin Soans’ interviewees include bitter victims, a former hostage, aid workers and politicians, but his point of view is clearly that of the terrorist. Director Carmel O’Reilly stages this documentary-style play with efficiency and economy, and though the performances of her eight-member ensemble are occasionally uneven, O’Reilly’s clarity and balance give the piece dramatic intensity.

Most haunting is Eve Kagan as a young woman telling her story of fighting in Uganda starting at age 8. Kagan’s steady gaze, focused accent and unadorned delivery make her survivor-terrorist stunning. She returns later as Nodira, a belly dancer from Tashkent who has hooked up with the British ambassador there. Their interview alternates between a humorous domestic scene and the ambassador’s harrowing account of whistle-blowing about intelligence extracted by torture, which led to his dismissal.

Soans tries to put his interviews in perspective by talking to a psychologist (Dale Place) about the motivations for radical behavior.

Although the set is understandably minimal, set designer J. Michael Griggs and lighting designer John Malinowski create some stunning effects. Malinowski lights Griggs’ set panels in a way that makes them look like a church’s stained glass windows or a crowded high-rise apartment building.

When the second act takes a left turn, Malinowski gathers an eclectic assortment of lamps upstage. The image of distinctly different shapes emanating light of various strength becomes a lovely metaphor for Soans’ effort to shed light with this play.


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