My Name is Rachel Corrie is the powerful story of one person’s passionate journey in the global struggle for sense and justice.
Rachel Corrie was a 23 year-old college student and human rights activist (she has been called the Joan of Arc of the Human Rights Movement) from Washington as well as an American member of the International Solidarity Movement. She was crushed to death on March 16 2003 in the Gaza Strip by an Israel Defense Forces bulldozer when she was kneeling in front of a local Palestinian‘s home acting as a human shield in an attempt to prevent IDF forces from demolishing the home. The IDF stated that the death was due to the restricted angle of view of the IDF’s Caterpillar D9 bulldozer driver, while ISM eyewitnesses suggested there was nothing to obscure the driver’s view. Hence, the details surrounding her death are disputed – the ISM claim it to have been an accident while her parents and the ISM claim it to be deliberate.
My Name is Rachel Corrie is a play based on the diaries and emails of Corrie – purportedly a gifted writer – who left behind a series of diaries and emails from an early age. These were edited by Katharine Viner (Deputy Editor of The Guardian) and British award winning actor Alan Rickman, who directed it and first staged it in April 2005 at the Royal Court Theatre, London. It went on to win the Theatregoers’ Choice Awards for Best Director and Best New Play, as well as Best Solo Performance for actress Megan Dodds. The play was scheduled to be transferred to the New York Theatre Workshop in March 2006. However, the New York theatre decided that, because of its political content, the play was to be postponed indefinitely, after the artistic director polled numerous Jewish groups to get their reaction to the play. Rickman and Viner denounced the decision and withdrew the show.
At the time actor Vanessa Redgrave said: “This is censorship of the worst kind. More awful even than that. It is black-listing a dead girl and her diaries. A very brave and exceptional girl who all citizens, whatever their faith or nationality, should be proud and grateful for…”
In one of her last emails communications with her parents Rachel Corrie wrote:
"…Nevertheless, I think about the fact that no amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can’t imagine it unless you see it, and even then you are always well aware that your experience is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli Army would face if they shot an unarmed US citizen, and with the fact that I have money to buy water when the army destroys wells, and, of course, the fact that I have the option of leaving. Nobody in my family has been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the end of a major street in my hometown. I have a home. I am allowed to go see the ocean. Ostensibly it is still quite difficult for me to be held for months or years on end without a trial (this because I am a white US citizen, as opposed to so many others).
When I leave for school or work I can be relatively certain that there will not be a heavily armed soldier waiting half way between Mud Bay and downtown Olympia at a checkpoint
a soldier with the power to decide whether I can go about my business, and whether I can get home again when I’m done. So, if I feel outrage at arriving and entering briefly and incompletely into the world in which these children exist, I wonder conversely about how it would be for them to arrive in my world."
My name Is Rachel Corrie will be in production at fortyfivedownstairs early – mid November, 2010.